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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A former Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy faces sentencing today for lying to federal investigators about the violent arrest of a jail visitor six years ago.
Noel Womack, 39, pleaded guilty to a felony charge that he lied to FBI agents during an interview when he told them he did not know if the visitor was handcuffed. He admitted to lying again when he told the agents his supervisor had ordered him to punch the man and a third time when he said the strikes he inflicted on the man had been necessary, according to his plea agreement.
Womack was one of six ex-deputies to be prosecuted for the 2011 assault on Gabriel Carrillo and its aftermath. Three others were convicted by a jury while Womack and two fellow ex-lawmen struck deals with prosecutors.
Carrillo was assaulted on Feb. 26, 2011, after guards found him carrying a prohibited cell phone in the waiting area of the Men's Central Jail. When the phone was discovered, Carrillo was handcuffed and brought into an employee break room, where he was beaten and pepper-sprayed.
Womack's plea agreement required him to resign from the sheriff's department and never work again in law enforcement. Prosecutors, for their part, have recommended to the judge that Womack receive no time in prison, although the judge could disregard the suggestion and sentence Womack to as many as five years behind bars, documents show.
A total of 21 now-former sheriff's department members were convicted of various crimes uncovered during a wide-ranging FBI investigation of the jails.
The probe reached the sheriff's executive branch. Former Sheriff Lee Baca was sentenced in May to three years behind bars for his conviction on charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice and making false statements. Baca is free pending his appeal.
Former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka is serving a five-year prison term at a minimum security camp in Colorado following his conviction for obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice.