Former jail superintendent convicted of federal civil rights costs

ROANOKE, VA. (WVIR) – John Marshall Higgins, former superintendent of Rockbridge County Regional Prison, has been convicted on multiple charges of federal civil rights violations and public corruption.

For years, Higgins pretended to be above the law and ran the prison accordingly. He failed to protect and support certain inmates in need of medical care, but offered another inmate special treatment that enriched him Acting US attorney Bubar said in a press release sent on Monday, February 1st. “I am proud of the hard work our partners at the FBI and VSP and our law enforcement team have done to produce this just result.”

The 62-year-old is also a former member of the Rockbridge County Board of Supervisors.

The U.S. Department of Justice says Higgins and 58-year-old Gary Andrew Hassler, the prison’s former head nurse, were charged in August 2018 and charged with several federal crimes related to Higgins’ failure to protect inmates and the denial of medical care an inmate’s serious medical needs leading to bodily harm; and charges related to Higgins’ use of his position of authority in prison to inappropriately enrich himself.

In July 2019, a jury convicted Hassler of obstructing a federal trial for violating civil rights in prison by forging a document. Evidence in court showed that on March 5, 2017, Hassler forged a document claiming that an inmate in the prison had refused medical treatment. He was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison

The court found Higgins back in August 2020 on three civil rights disenfranchisements for denial of medical care to an inmate and failure to protect that inmate from physical abuse, one conspiracy to commit fraud by mail and honest service, and two Cases of fraud involving mail and honest services for accepting valuables in exchange for official acts.

In addition, evidence showed that Higgins agreed to accept valuables from an inmate’s family and friends at Rockbridge Regional Jail in order to give the inmate preferential treatment. These family members and friends made payments and other items of at least $ 3,000 to a scholarship fund run by Higgins and his family.

A sentencing date has not yet been set.

Copyright 2021 WVIR. All rights reserved.

Comments are closed.