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Jail guard allegedly assaulted trespasser

March 5, 2013 at 2:56 PM

COLUMBIA, S.C., March 5 (UPI) -- A man arrested for trespassing at the University of South Carolina was so badly hurt in an alleged beating by a jail guard, he might die, officials say.

Robin Smith, 38, was freed on a $20,000 personal recognizance bond Feb. 25, two weeks after the alleged attack, and was fired as a corrections officer at the Richland County Jail, The (Columbia) State reported. Capt. Chris Cowan, a spokesman for the sheriff's department, said the alleged victim, a 52-year-old man who appeared to be homeless, remained in critical but stable condition Monday at Palmetto Health Richland Hospital.

Cowan released more details about the attack after The State obtained information under the Open Public Records Act. He said the victim was subject to a "prolonged assault" that left him with internal injuries, including a collapsed lung, two broken ribs and a broken bone in his back.

"It included a boot to the head and to the neck," Cowan said. "A boot strike to the upper body. A boot was pushed into his head and neck as his arm was being pulled."

The incident report said the man was hospitalized four days after he was injured.

"This person could possibly die as a result of [his] injuries," Cowan said.

The man had a history of being picked up for trespassing at USC and had been warned he could be jailed for further infractions.

The prosecutor is seeking an increase in Smith's bail. Smith had been an officer at the jail for two years.

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