SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WMBD) — A former correctional officer at the Western Illinois Correctional Center in Mt. Sterling, Ill., was sentenced Thursday for beating an inmate to death in 2018.
According to a United States Attorney’s Office press release, 31-year-old Alex Banta was sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release in connection to the death of Larry Earvin.
Banta and two others assaulted Earvin as they were transporting him from residential housing to segregated housing. Earvin was handcuffed at the time.
Earvin suffered serious bodily injury, including multiple broken ribs, a punctured mesentery, and other serious internal injuries, which resulted in Earvin’s death in June 2018.
Banta and the other defendants attempted to falsify documents filed with the prison and lied to state police about the incident.
Banta was sentenced for conspiracy to deprive civil rights and deprivation of civil rights under color of law resulting in bodily injury and death. He was also sentenced for conspiracy to engage in misleading conduct; obstruction, falsification of a document, and obstruction, misleading conduct.
“We hope that the convictions of Todd Sheffler, Alex Banta, and Willie Hedden and today’s sentence for Alex Banta provide a measure of justice for Larry Earvin and his family,” said U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Harris. “We also hope it serves as a warning to all those who would abuse governmental power that they will be held accountable under the law. Although the vicious and brutal beating of Mr. Earvin cost him his life, and that is a loss that can never be remedied, all of those persons whom the evidence established violated Mr. Earvin’s constitutional rights and caused his death (Sheffler, Hedden, and Banta) have been and are being held accountable. Our prosecution of this case demonstrates our continued commitment to equal justice under the law and to protecting society’s vulnerable, including those in our prisons.”
This investigation was conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Illinois, the FBI-Springfield Field Office, and the Illinois State Police Division of Internal Investigation, with the cooperation of the Illinois Department of Corrections.