Officers exonerated

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

A Curry County grand jury chose Friday not to indict two former detention officers accused of beating an inmate at the Curry County Adult Detention Center.

Jeff Aikman, 30, and Bernie Woods, 37, were arrested Feb. 16 and charged with aggravated battery against an inmate at the Curry County Adult Detention Center.

“We presented the charges to the grand jury and the grand jury found that there was not sufficient probable cause to bind the case over for trial,” District Attorney Matt Chandler said.

Witnesses told police they saw Aikman and Woods slam the inmate against the wall several times and slam him face first into a steel bed, according to court records.

Defense attorneys Dan Lindsey and Tye Harmon plan to file motions to have their clients’ records cleared.

Lindsey said the grand jury determined the men were subduing an aggressive inmate who had struggled with them, spit in Woods’ face, and verbally assaulted them.

“For the despicable way this matter was handled we’re going to file a motion to expunge their criminal records. Their records have been tarnished by this fiasco,” Lindsey said.

“They are happy that the grand jury has seen the truth and they are very happy that they have been exonerated of all charges.”

Assistant County Manager Lance Pyle declined to say if Aikman and Woods are eligible for rehire and said he does not comment on personnel matters.