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Jul 28, 2000

Recaptured prisoner alleges torture, beating

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Another runaway prisoner was rounded up on Thursday, but the events, which followed his captured have overshadowed his original and subsequent crimes. Twenty-five year old Randolph Miller, who was serving a twelve-year sentence for aggravated burglary, escaped from Hattieville Prison on July thirteenth. On Thursday, the inmate was captured by the police in a house in Corozal where he had been hiding out. Later that day, Miller was brought back to Hattieville and while it was an uneventful trip, once inside the compound Miller says things changed for the worse. He alleges that he was beaten and tortured by authorities. This morning, Miller’s mother, Dorla Williams, visited Channel Five to say that if the family did not seek assistance from Ombudsman Paul Rodriguez, her son would not have received the urgent medical attention he needed. Williams said it was not until Rodriguez called the Prison Department that Miller was finally transported to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. We caught up with him at the hospital where he had just been treated for a broken arm, fractured feet and bruises to the body.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

Randolph Miller says he was severely beaten by a prison warder he knows only as Davis. According to Miller he was first tortured in the prison’s control room, then taken to the administration building where he was further beaten with a board and threatened with a gun.

Randolph Miller, Inmate

“Well an officer by the name of Davis just haul up on me and just start to beat up on me and kick me up, and just started to throw me on the ground and jump up on my head and face. Another officer pushed him off and told him to “hold it down and ease the young boy” and he still didn’t want to ease up on me and still beat me up. I managed to slip him and he slowed down a little and told me that they were going to trim my hair because I had Rasta and when they took me to the administration building, that marked Flowers Office, they hauled a big board and started to lash me up with it. I cried to him and told him that my arm is broken and my foot is broken and he still didn’t want to stop lashing me. I don’t know what he has with me, I don’t have anything with him.”

Jacqueline Woods

“This is the warder Davis?”

Randolph Miller

“Yes. Mr. Davis, he just whopped me up and I don’t really know what he has with me, but I don’t have anything with him. I am an escaped prisoner, they have punishment for escaped prisoners. If they wanted to cut my hair and put me in a lock down cell, and give me twenty-eight days sanction and charge me for escape, and send me to court and let me get my time, they could have done that. But no, they just… This is the procedure that is far from what they did to me.”

Miller says he did not put up any kind of resistance once he was handed over to the Prison Department and believes Davis beat him because the warder just does not like him. Miller alleges Davis then pulled out a knife and chopped off his dreadlocks then put a gun to his head.

Randolph Miller

“He just start to beat me for no reason at all. I didn’t fight back or even put up my hand to say fight back this man. This man just grabbed a piece of stick and just run at me and say that we liked to play bad and just start whop me up. Then he hauled out his nine and put it at my head and snapped it. I was frightened, I taught that the gun had in bullets. Then he cocked it back again and slapped me with it. Then he cocked it at my head and snapped it again. I don’t know what this man have against me.”

Miller who is unable to walk is now hospitalized at the KHMH. Dorla Williams, Miller’s mother says she knows her son did wrong by escaping from prison and she knows Miller must serve time for the crime he committed. However, she says her son did not deserve the beaten he got.

Dorla Williams, Mother

“If they had punish him in another way, but the abuse that he got, I am not satisfied with it. In the first place, they beat him up so bad, they took a knife and cut off his hair, when he has already gone through all that beating. I don’t know what space they have left for me right now.”

The Miller family has reported the incident to the Office of the Ombudsman, which will launch an investigation into the incident. Following our interview at the hospital we did tried to contact the Department of Corrections to speak with the Executive Governor of Prison, Bernard Adolphus but was told he had already left the compound for the day.

We do not know if Dickie Bradley, the Minister in charge of Prisons has been informed about the incident, but viewers may recall that on July nineteenth, Bradley told News Five that after he had read a critical Amnesty International report on Belize and its penal system, he vowed that it would be the last time Amnesty would ever find reason for criticism of conditions at Hattieville.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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