A former Florida Panhandle prison guard has denied involvement in an orchestrated beating of an inmate and will be defending himself at trial.
Christopher Blake Christmas was scheduled to plead guilty Wednesday at the U.S. District Court but said he was not aware of the planned group attack on the inmate and that we would not take the plea deal.
The News Herald reports that the 32-year-old was one of five guards indicted on charges of beating 31-year-old Jeremiah Tatum at the Northwest Florida Reception Center as part of a retaliation plan. All but Christmas have pleaded guilty to the charges.
Prosecutors said the evidence against Christmas is very strong, referring to a video showing him and the other guards slamming the inmate down after his supervisor yelled.