Federal agrees to move inmate death case off coast

A federal judge has agreed that the trial of four former Harrison County jailers be moved from Gulfport.

U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola, Jr., after a two hour hearing Tuesday, left the trial date set for August 6th, but said he will have to make arrangements at another federal courthouse, possibly in Hattiesburg or Jackson.

Federal trial attorneys wanted to prosecute the case in Gulfport. Former jailer Ryan Teel is the only defendant who wanted the trial moved.

The criminal case has resulted in five guilty pleas of former jailers and allegations of a conspiracy to deprive inmates' rights against former jail employees Teel, Rick Gaston, Karl W. Stolze and Daniel Evans.

The government launched its investigation after Jessie Lee Williams, Jr., died following an assault in the jail booking room in February 2006.

Guirola denied requests to dismiss the conspiracy count, to continue the trial and to try Gaston, Evans and Stolze separately from Teel.

The defendants are also each accused in one or more alleged assaults involving inmates who haven't been identified by name.