Former BCDC deputy jailer accused in inmate’s death takes the stand

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 7:23 PM EDT
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BOYD COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -The seventh day of the trial for a former Boyd County Detention Center jailer accused of an inmate’s death resumed on Tuesday by hearing the only witness for the defense.

Brad Roberts shared his own first-hand experience on the stand.

Roberts is the first former guard to stand trial. Four former guards at the Boyd County Detention Center (BCDC) are accused in the 2018 death of inmate Michael Moore, 40.

Moore died from blunt force trauma three days after he was arrested for public intoxication and lodged at the Boyd County Detention Center, according to the medical examiner.

In his testimony, Roberts shared with the jury he worked several jobs during his time at the BCDC. He said there was a lack of job training, and deputy jailers relied “on the job training” to learn.

The surveillance video first introduced to the jury last Wednesday shows the deputy jailers during a 36-hour period. A majority of the time the surveillance video shows the booking room, where Zack Messer another guard indicted in connection with Moore’s death, shows Messer primarily slamming Moore against the wall, performing a leg sweep on the handcuffed man, and then thrown him into the restraint chair.

Roberts was pressured on the stand by the state’s attorneys about the degree of the alleged use of force.

“Each person has their own idea of what is too much. I personally don’t know and I didn’t know at that time,” Roberts said. Roberts’ attorney asked his client, “Do you still think it was too much force?” Roberts answered, “What I did? No.”

The state alleges Roberts stepped on Moore’s foot to hold him down while in a restraint chair. Roberts testified he stepped on Moore’s pant leg, not his foot. Roberts asked to step down and approach the jury, showing them the surveillance video frame by frame on a bigger screen where 6 to 8 inches of orange jumpsuit pant leg can be seen.

Copley rebutted during cross-examination that Roberts told Kentucky State Police Det. Kelly he did step on Moore’s foot when pressured for an answer about his deputy jailers’ actions.

“Don’t you have a duty to protect your inmates?” Copley said.

Closing arguments will begin Wednesday morning.

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