Former Crittenden County Jailer Admits to Punching Inmate

APRIL 7, 2005 - Posted at 3:55 p.m. CST

WEST MEMPHIS, AR - A former Crittenden County jailer has pleaded guilty to one federal count of violating an inmate's civil rights, admitting he punched a restrained man in the face three years ago.

Robert Bretherick, 59, of West Memphis, pleaded guilty yesterday.  The charge is a felony punishable by up to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Federal prosecutors told the judge that in exchange for Bretherick's guilty plea they will ask him to drop three other charges against the former jailer when he is sentenced.

The judge has tentatively allowed Bretherick to remain free until his sentencing.  However, prosecutors argued that detention is mandatory for people awaiting sentencing on violent crimes.

Bretherick's attorney, Gerald Coleman of West Memphis, argued that his client has been free for about a year despite the charges and has obeyed pre-trial requirements.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)