Arguments start today in feces case
By RYAN MYERS , The Enterprise
Closing arguments are expected today in the trial of a man accused of assaulting a Beaumont federal prison guard by throwing feces on him.
Patrick Piper, 22, is accused of throwing a cup of human waste on a guard at the federal prison outside Beaumont on April 4, 2006. Piper, who was in prison after being convicted of possessing a gun as a felon, faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of the assault charge.
On Tuesday, the trial's first day of testimony, jurors saw video where Prosecutor David Henderson said Piper can be heard admitting to the act.
Russell Wright, Piper's attorney, suggested prosecutors could not prove the waste was thrown by his client and not Piper's cellmate, Kevin Conway Jr.
Conway and Piper both were indicted for the crime in October 2006, but prosecutors have since dismissed the charges against Conway.
Officer Tony Murray on Tuesday told jurors he was collecting food trays from inmates when one of the two inmates in Piper's cell splashed a cup of liquid waste on his face and body.
The door to Piper's cell had a small glass window. But because the food trays are collected through a small waist-height opening in an otherwise solid door, Murray could not see which inmate threw the waste, he testified.
"It smelled awful, it got in my mouth, my eyes, in my hair and all over my shirt," the guard told jurors.
Murray, who did not typically work in the area of the prison where Piper was kept, said he had no previous relationship with the inmate.
The guard said he was tested twice for disease after the incident and doctors have told him he is healthy.
Paul Hinch, a guard collecting food trays with Murray, said he saw both inmates laughing after the waste was thrown on Murray. Hinch said Piper was closest to the door and seemed to be getting more enjoyment out of it.
"Piper kept hollering and screaming, beating on the door, saying, 'I got you, I got you,"' Hinch said.
Hinch acknowledged in cross-examination he did not include Piper's admission in any of his reports on the incident.
Lt. Reynaldo Garcia, supervisor of the area where Piper was confined, told jurors it is customary to video record prison response when an inmate is accused of assault.
Garcia was shown in the video approaching Piper's cell after learning of the incident. As he stands before the door, a barely audible voice could be heard in the video saying, "Garcia, I did that, I did that."
In a later segment of video that also did not show the defendant, a voice can be heard saying, "I'll do it again."
Garcia told jurors the voice in both parts of the video was Piper's.
The sentence Piper was serving at the time of the assault ended July 19 and he has been at the Liberty County jail awaiting trial since then.
Closing arguments were to begin today at 10 a.m. before U.S. District Court Judge Marcia Crone.
What would you do if somebody flung poop at you? What do you think should happen to this prisoner? I think his rectum should be filled with CEMENT! He shouldn't have pooped in the first place!