Guard gets probation for death of inmate
A judge rules that Brian Freitas did not cause Antonio Revera's death
A FORMER Halawa prison guard who was found guilty of assaulting an inmate who subsequently died was sentenced to one year of probation.
Initially charged with manslaughter, Brian Freitas, 40, was convicted of a lesser charge of third-degree assault in August following a jury-waived retrial earlier this year. Had he been convicted of manslaughter, he would have faced 20 years in prison.
Freitas had been accused of recklessly causing inmate Antonio Revera's death by slamming his head on a concrete bed in April 1998 after he had bitten a corrections officer.
Deputy Prosecutor Russ Uehara had requested that Freitas serve at least a year in jail because a life was lost. Deputy public defender Walter Rodby opposed jail, arguing that Freitas is a good candidate for probation.
Yesterday, Circuit Judge Dexter Del Rosario said he did not find that Freitas had caused Revera's death. He said there was evidence that Revera received several blows "intentionally or accidentally" from other guards and that Revera contributed to the conditions that resulted in his death.
Nevertheless, Del Rosario noted that the amount of force Freitas used on Revera was "reckless."
As a prison guard, Freitas had a greater responsibility to those entrusted to his care, Del Rosario said. "We have to treat them lawfully and humanely."
Because the incident occurred more than seven years ago, the court also considered Freitas' conduct since the incident in deciding against giving him jail time.
Freitas has not touched alcohol since the incident, has been steadily employed and has the support of his family, Del Rosario said. He also concluded that Freitas is remorseful and that the incident has deeply affected his life.
Yesterday, Freitas apologized and sent out prayers to the Revera family for their loss. He said he lives every day knowing he was part of a situation that led to a loss of life. He continued to maintain that he was just doing his job and looking out for the safety of others.
Freitas contended at his first trial in 2003 that he was only trying to subdue Revera, who was known as psychotic and had a history of biting people and banging his head against concrete walls.
Earlier, Revera had bit the hand of a sergeant, drawing blood, and was taken down by six corrections officers after a violent struggle. At the time, Revera was serving a 10-year term for rape and kidnapping.
Freitas, who now works with a security company that handles federal contracts, said afterward that he wants to put the matter behind him and pursue a career in law enforcement. Freitas was the only prison guard to face criminal prosecution in connection with Revera's death.
Joann Revera, Antonio Revera's mother, filed a lawsuit in April 2000 alleging the state was liable for her son's death. She could not be reached for comment. According to court records, the case was settled about a year later. Details of the settlement were not immediately available.