Pubdate: Wed, 13 Jul 2005
Source: Knoxville News-Sentinel (TN)
Copyright: 2005 The Knoxville News-Sentinel Co.
Author: Jamie Satterfield


Others To Receive Sentence Today For Attack On Convicted Drug Dealer

The two young boys likely will never meet, but they share a bond that 
will forever link them.

One lost his father - former lawman Joshua Monday - to prison 
Tuesday. The other lost his faith in police because Monday brutalized 
his father.

"It's a tragedy for all concerned," U.S. District Court Judge Tom 
Varlan said as he sentenced Monday to six years in prison for his 
role in the beating and torture of Lester Eugene Siler.

Monday is the first of five former Campbell County Sheriff's Office 
deputies to face sentencing for the attack on Siler last July in his 
White Oak community home.

The four others face sentencing hearings before Varlan today.

All have pleaded guilty to charges they beat, tortured and threatened 
Siler, a convicted drug dealer, in a two-hour ordeal apparently 
intended to force Siler to sign a form giving consent to search his home.

More than 70 people turned out to support Monday, prompting Varlan to 
move the case to a larger courtroom. Also packed in the room were 
Siler, his wife and other relatives as well as several FBI agents who 
helped build the case against the former lawmen.

It was Siler's wife, Jenny, who provided the key piece of evidence 
that led to the former deputies' downfall - a secret audio recording 
of some 40 minutes of the attack.

In a statement read by Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles Atchley, Jenny 
Siler wrote that the couple's 9-year-old son has been forever changed 
by the brutality.

"Our son no longer trusts in police officers," Jenny Siler wrote. "He 
will remember what he heard and saw for the rest of his life."

Monday broke down into tears as he begged Varlan for mercy.

"I beg this court not to take me from my son," Monday pleaded, 
referring to his 5-year-old.

Monday faced a minimum seven-year prison term for pointing a gun at 
Siler and threatening to shoot him during the attack. But Atchley had 
recommended that Varlan chop a year off that sentence because Monday 
has given federal authorities undisclosed information.

Varlan heard the details of that information in a closed-door 
hearing. Attorney Dennis Francis has said in court records that 
Monday gave the FBI information about possible wrongdoing by other 
Campbell County officials, including Sheriff Ron McClellan.

Neither Francis nor Atchley have elaborated.

Atchley argued that despite any cooperation by Monday, the former 
lawman must be punished for his misdeeds.

"It's disgraceful," Atchley said. "It's absolutely horrible behavior 
that is not tolerated in the United States of America."

Monday apologized.

"Things did go wrong, and I have taken responsibility for what I've 
done," he said.

Francis stressed that neither he nor Monday have set out to vilify or 
blame Siler.

"We're not here to make excuses for what Joshua did," Francis said. 
"This is the most difficult case I've ever had."

After the hearing, Francis directed some anger at Monday's former 
bosses at the Campbell County Sheriff's Office. Francis said the 
25-year-old Monday was tossed a uniform, badge and gun and sent out 
onto Campbell County's streets with no training.

"It's just unacceptable that we put people in a (law enforcement) 
position, give them no training, put them in harm's way and (when 
they foul up) throw them to the wolves," said Francis, who routinely 
represents local officers as part of his work with a police support 

McClellan did not attend the hearing. He has not returned calls 
seeking comment about the case.

The Silers have filed a lawsuit against the five former lawmen as 
well as McClellan and his chief deputy.

Tammy Walker, a friend of Monday's who attended the hearing, insisted 
that the "citizens of Campbell County" are unhappy with the 
prosecution of the former deputies.

She complained that Siler "still hasn't served a day in jail" on a 
probation violation warrant the deputies went to his home to serve 
when they attacked him.

Campbell County prosecutors dropped charges filed against Siler by 
the deputies because of their now-admitted violation of his civil rights.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Beth