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Jury deliberating fate of two Adams Co. men in 2018 prison beating

Jury deliberating fate of two Adams Co. men in 2018 prison beating

1 month ago Scott Hardy/Associated Press

Todd Sheffler of Mendon, and Alex Banta of Quincy both charged in beating of Larry Earvin

A Federal jury now has the case in the trial of two Adams County men, accused of beating an inmate at the Western Correctional Center in Mount Sterling in 2018 and causing his death.

That jury received the case Friday afternoon after closing arguments in U.S. District Court in Springfield in the trial of Todd Sheffler of Mendon and Alex Banta of Quincy. Federal prosecutors and defense attorneys offered starkly different explanations for the fatal beating of Larry Earvin. U.S. Attorney Eugene Miller told jury in his closing argument that the guards "beat him up and then lied to cover it up." Defense attorneys, however, blamed other guards. Both Sheffler and Banta face counts of Conspiracy, Deprivation of Civil Rights, Witness Tampering, obstruction and intimidation. The men are charged in a May 17th, 2018 incident, and are accused of severely beating Earvin. He suffered numerous injuries including a punctured colon and broken ribs, and died a month later. If convicted, they both could get up to life in prison. A third defendant, Willie Hedden of Mount Sterling, has pleaded Guilty to counts of conspiracy to deprive civil rights, deprivation of civil rights and conspiracy to engage in misleading conduct. Hedden admitted taking part in the beating. Hedden also admitted that he falsified a prison report and lied to the Illinois State Police about the incident, and talked a friend and fellow prison employee into deleting a text message where Hedden admitted assaulting Earvin.

Hedden is set to be sentenced July 18th, and could also get up to life in prison.

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