Ronald Spear was suffering from renal disease while awaiting trial at Rikers Island on Dec. 19, 2012, when he left his housing area early in the morning to see a doctor, according to law enforcement.
He was stopped outside of the doctor's office by a correction officer and told the doctor was not available to see him, after which Spear and officers began fighting and he was pronounced dead at the scene soon after, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
Correction Officer Byron Taylor, 32, helped other officers cover up the true nature of Spear's death by coming up with a fake story that made Spear look like the instigator, filing false Use of Force reports with the Department of Correction and repeatedly lying to the Bronx District Attorney's Office, DOC investigators and a federal grand jury said.
Taylor pleaded guilty to perjury and conspiracy to obstruct justice for his role in the cover-up and faces up to 25 years in prison for his crimes, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. His sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 20.
Anthony Torres, 60, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obstruct justice and file false reports and faces up to 25 years in prison as well, while the trial of another defendant, Brian Coll, is scheduled to begin on Oct. 18, officials said.
Taylor's guilty plea comes on the heels of eight correction officers being sentenced for both beating and attempting to cover up the beating of inmate Jahmal Lightfoot.
"Taylor lied to a federal grand jury and, together with others, concocted a story that blamed the victim — who had serious physical ailments — for starting an altercation with correction officers," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.
"This office is committed to ensuring that incarcerated people are treated fairly and protected from abuse by the correction officers sworn to both guard and protect them.”