TYLER, Texas – A former East Texas chief deputy pleaded guilty Wednesday to violating a prisoner’s civil rights by using excessive force on him, according to court documents.
Steven Craig Shelton was the second-ranked official in the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office when the Sept. 21 incident happened at the county jail.
During a plea hearing before a federal magistrate in Tyler, Shelton admitted that he struck a handcuffed and compliant suspect twice with his forearm. He said his action was born of frustration and was unjustified, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's office.
Under a plea agreement with prosecutors, Shelton faces up to almost four years in federal prison.
Sheriff Steve Hendrix resigned in April after indictments accused him and two deputies of lying about Shelton’s actions. Hendrix, whose attorneys contend is not guilty, still awaits trial.