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Guard accused of rape found dead in truck at North Florida prison

Facing a rape investigation, he had been fired from the North Florida facility on Monday.

By LUCY MORGAN
Published October 5, 2005

TALLAHASSEE - A state prison guard facing rape accusations was found dead at a North Florida prison Tuesday, and a phantom prison employee was arrested for stealing the salary he was paid to play in a prison softball tournament.

These are the latest developments in an escalating series of state and federal investigations into wrongdoing at Florida prisons.

Capt. Keith Davison, 39, was found dead in his Dodge pickup truck at a landfill at Union Correctional Institution, a prison not far from where he worked at New River Correctional Institution.

Davison was fired Monday by New River warden Michael McRae after he admitted using a visitors suite at nearby Florida State Prison's bachelor officer quarters for an unauthorized party.

"You also engaged in inappropriate behavior with a subordinate employee while at this location," the warden noted in a letter firing Davison for conduct unbecoming a public employee. The letter was released Tuesday by state corrections officials.

Bradford County sheriff's Lt. W.H. "Bear" Bryan confirmed that his department was investigating the alleged rape of another guard but would not discuss details of the death investigation being handled by neighboring Union County.

Officials in Union County said Davison died of a gunshot wound to the head, an apparent suicide. Davison reportedly had a wife and two children.

Corrections Secretary James V. Crosby Jr. confirmed the death in a written statement.

"I am deeply saddened by the news of Capt. Davison's death," Crosby said. "On behalf of the entire department, our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this very difficult time."

Davison was hired Sept. 22, 1989, and most recently worked at New River, which is across the highway from Florida State Prison.

Meanwhile, agents from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrested Mark Michael Guerra, 33, in Sneads, a Jackson County community in the Florida Panhandle.

Charged with grand theft, Guerra is accused of accepting $1,247 as payment for a library assistant's job at Apalachee Correctional Institution when all he actually did was play softball on the prison team during the Secretary's 24th Annual Tournament in Jacksonville in May.

The Apalachee team won the tournament with Guerra's help, according to an FDLE affidavit. Crosby attended the three-day tournament, according to his official calendar, which was obtained by the St. Petersburg Times.

Investigators said Guerra, the husband of another prison employee, was hired with the knowledge of Col. Richard Frye and Col. Winfred Warren, officers at the prison who also coach the softball team.

Guerra told investigators he had played minor league baseball and played for a team in Venezuela for about five years.

An employee who supervised the prison library where Guerra was supposed to be working told investigators she never met him or saw him at work but filled out his time sheets because she feared she would lose her job if she didn't cooperate with Frye.

Guerra was paid May 13 and May 27 for four weeks work.

Mike Hanna, chief of staff at the Department of Corrections, said the agency is working closely with the FDLE on the investigation.

"This kind of behavior is unacceptable and will not be condoned," Hanna said.

Hanna said he does not know whether any others were hired to play softball.

State investigators have also looked into another incident involving the prison softball teams and Col. Frye. In that incident, witnesses said, Frye helped Allen Clark, supervisor of 18 North Florida prisons, beat up the husband of a corrections major who slipped and fell during a softball party at the National Guard Armory in Tallahassee.

Clark, a longtime protege of Crosby's, resigned Aug. 30 for personal reasons. State investigators recently seized a Jeep and several trailers owned by Clark after serving a search warrant in connection with an investigation into the alleged misuse of prison funds and property.

Federal officials are investigating reports of steroid trafficking and use among prison guards at New River during a time when Clark served as warden at the prison. Some of the guards allegedly using steroids also played for prison softball teams.

Four former prison guards have pleaded guilty to steroid trafficking after thousands of tablets were seized by federal authorities as they arrived at post offices near the prisons in Bradford, Union and Clay counties.

A fifth guard faces trial in November.

[Last modified October 5, 2005, 01:13:09]


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