Two former corrections officers from the Southern Regional Jail in Beaver, West Virginia, pleaded guilty for their respective roles in an assault that resulted in the death of an inmate, identified by the initials Q.B., on March 1, 2022. Steven Nicholas Wimmer and Andrew Fleshman each pleaded guilty to conspiring with other officers to use unreasonable force against Q.B.
According to their plea agreements, Wimmer and Fleshman each acknowledged that they separately responded to a call for officer assistance after Q.B. tried to push past another correctional officer and leave his assigned pod and that, when each arrived at the pod, Q.B. was on the floor as force was being used against him. The officers restrained and handcuffed Q.B. Wimmer, Fleshman and other members of the conspiracy then escorted Q.B. to an interview room where members of the conspiracy, aided and abetted by each other, struck and injured Q.B. while he was restrained, handcuffed, and posed no threat to anyone. Wimmer and Fleshman each admitted that the members of the conspiracy struck and injured Q.B. in the interview room in order to punish him for attempting to leave his assigned pod.
In his plea agreement, Fleshman further admits that he was one of the members of the conspiracy who injured Q.B. inside the interview room while Q.B. was restrained, handcuffed, and posed no threat. Fleshman acknowledged that he and others then removed Q.B. from the interview room to a cell, where members of the conspiracy struck and injured Q.B. to punish him while he was restrained, handcuffed and while he posed no threat to anyone.
In his plea agreement, Wimmer further admitted that he struck and injured Q.B. after he was brought to the cell to punish Q.B. while he was restrained, handcuffed, and while he posed no threat to anyone.
Wimmer and Fleshman each pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Frank W. Volk. Sentencing hearings are scheduled for Feb. 22, 2024. According to their respective plea agreements, Wimmer and Fleshman each face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney William S. Thompson for the Southern District of West Virginia, and Special Agent in Charge Michael D. Nordwall of the FBI Pittsburgh Field Office made the announcement.
The FBI Pittsburgh Field Office is investigating the case.
Deputy Chief Christine M. Siscaretti Trial Attorney Matthew Tannenbaum of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and Deputy Criminal Chief Monica Coleman for the Southern District of West Virginia are prosecuting the case.