Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Missouri
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 8, 2022
ST. LOUIS – U.S. District Court Judge Matthew T. Schelp on Tuesday sentenced a former correctional officer at the St. Louis jail to four years in prison for allowing two inmates to attack another inmate last year.
Demeria Thomas, 39, pleaded guilty in February to a felony charge of deprivation of rights under color of law. She admitted that on March 22, 2021, while employed by as a corrections officer at the St. Louis Justice Center, she unlocked an inmate’s cell door allowing two inmates inside to attack the occupant. During the attack, Thomas told other inmates to stay away, preventing them from coming to the aid of the victim.
Several minutes later, Thomas walked to the open door of the cell and calmly instructed the attackers to leave. She then closed the door to the cell, making no effort to render aid to the bleeding and incapacitated victim, who lost a tooth while suffering a broken jaw and a concussion. Thomas also failed to disclose the assault and filed no report of the incident.
Jail officials didn’t learn of the attack until two days later.
In court Tuesday, FBI Special Agent Darren Boehlje testified that one of the attackers said Thomas and the victim had a verbal altercation earlier that day. Thomas then threatened to falsely claim he’d exposed herself to her unless he participated in the attack.
In a letter, the victim’s mother said the victim still suffers from PTSD, headaches and seizures from the attack, adding, “The person who was supposed to keep him safe is the one who instigated this attack.”
Judge Schelp called the crime “depraved” and said, “I don’t buy into your excuses for what you did.”
The case was investigated by the FBI and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.