3 Guards Acquitted In 2009 Death of Mental Health Patient

BOSTON (AP) - Three former guards at a Massachusetts facility that treats the mentally ill in the state criminal justice system have been acquitted of charges in the 2009 death of an inmate with schizophrenia.

Inmate Joshua Messier suffered heart failure when the guards forcefully strapped him to a bed.

The Boston Globe reports a judge said Monday that the defendants' "conduct" did not constitute wanton and reckless disregard for the 23-year-old Messier's life.

The former Bridgewater State Hospital guards had faced charges including involuntary manslaughter.

Prosecutors had determined in 2010 there was insufficient evidence to pursue criminal charges, and none of the guards was disciplined.

But in 2014, Attorney General Martha Coakley appointed a special prosecutor who determined there were grounds for charges.The defense argued the guards were doing their best under the circumstances.

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