Chesterton Tribune

Amanda Bach's accused killer and eight other PCJ inmates file federal complaint

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Accused murderer Dustin McCowan is one of nine inmates at the Porter County Jail who have filed a complaint in federal court alleging “cruel and unusual punishment” on the part of jail staff.

The complaint, filed on Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, maintains that, on Nov. 29, staff denied the nine inmates access to the telephone—among other things—until it “was found out who wrote on the window.”

The complaint does not specify what was written on the window nor where the window is located.

The nine inmates have also been denied visitation privileges as well as access to the law library and outgoing mail, the hand-written complaint alleges.

The nine inmates, all housed in Pod C-1:

•Dustin McCowan, charged with the murder in September of Amanda Bach.

•Charles Wade III, charged with kidnapping, carjacking, burglary, battery with a deadly weapon, intimidation, and criminal confinement.

•Joseph Rumwalt, charged with reckless homicide, OWI-controlled substance, and possession of marijuana.

•Adam Massey, charged with child molestation and battery to law enforcement.

•Corey Cardenas, charged with misdemeanor OWI.

•Dustin DaVaney, charged with revocation of probation.

•Arthur Gutierrez Jr., charged with invasion of privacy.

•Jason Tabor, charged with child molestation.

•Keelon Wright, charged with robbery.

Jail staff “showed no rational reason” for the denial of privileges, the complaint states. “There was no security risk or loss of order in jail. There was never a disciplinary hearings held charging any inmate for any violation. The denial of inmate rights (was) done in retaliation and a form of cruel and unusual punishment violating inmates(’) First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitutional and causing Plaintiffs pain, suffering, and emotional Distress.”

The complaint also alleges “evil intent” on the part of jail staff.

According to the complaint, when the inmates protested the denial of privileges to a jail officer, the officer allegedly replied “Sue me, I’ll just get a slap on the wrist.”

The inmates are seeking compensatory and punitive damages, court costs, and “a jury trial on all issues triable by jury.”

Sgt. Larry LaFlower, public information officer for the Porter County Sheriff’s Police, told the Chesterton Tribune today that the PCSP “officially does not comment on pending litigation.”

Posted 12/8/2011