Two former corrections officers from the Southern Regional Jail in Beaver, West Virginia, pleaded guilty on November 2, 2023, for their respective roles in an assault that led to the death of an inmate known by the initials Q.B. The incident occurred on March 1, 2022. Steven Nicholas Wimmer and Andrew Fleshman each entered guilty pleas for conspiring with fellow officers to employ excessive force against Q.B.
In their plea agreements, Wimmer and Fleshman admitted to responding separately to a call for officer assistance when Q.B. attempted to push past another correctional officer and leave his designated pod. Upon arrival, they found Q.B. on the floor with force being used against him. The officers then restrained and handcuffed Q.B. Subsequently, they, along with other members of the conspiracy, escorted Q.B. to an interview room. Inside the interview room, with the aid and abetment of each other, they struck and injured Q.B. despite him being restrained, handcuffed, and posing no threat. Wimmer and Fleshman confessed that the conspiracy members targeted Q.B. in the interview room as a form of punishment for his attempt to leave his assigned pod.
In his plea agreement, Fleshman went further to admit that he was among those who injured Q.B. inside the interview room, while Q.B. remained restrained, handcuffed, and non-threatening. Fleshman acknowledged that they then moved Q.B. to a cell, where members of the conspiracy continued to strike and injure him as a form of punishment, despite his restrained and non-threatening state.
Wimmer, in his plea agreement, confessed to striking and injuring Q.B. after he had been taken to the cell, further punishing Q.B. while he remained restrained, handcuffed, and posed no threat to anyone.
Both Wimmer and Fleshman pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Frank W. Volk. Sentencing hearings are scheduled for February 22, 2024. According to their respective plea agreements, each of them faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.