Joseph Guglielmo is shown in a neck brace after he allegedly was beaten by a Montgomery County Jail sergeant in January 2015. A lawsuit filed by Guglielmo is scheduled to go to trial in June.

County seeks delay in case of homeless vet allegedly beaten in jail

Attorneys representing Montgomery County want to delay the trial of a homeless military veteran allegedly beaten into a coma by a Montgomery County Jail sergeant, a motion to which Joseph Guglielmo’s attorneys object.

Guglielmo, 61, was allegedly beaten so severely in 2015 that he was in a coma for two months and is cognitively disabled, wheelchair bound and lives in a Florida nursing facility, according to the 2017 lawsuit filed in Dayton’s U.S. District Court.

In their motion, county attorneys said the motion for summary judgment and associated responses and exhibits total more than 550 pages. The attorneys have asked U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Rose to continue the trial scheduled for June 17. Rose hasn’t ruled.

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“Defendants believe all parties, and the Court, would be well-served in continuing the trial of this action,” attorneys wrote. “Doing so will allow additional time for the Court to digest all of the summary judgment materials, and render its decision.”

In response, Guglielmo’s attorneys said they stand “ready for trial” and Guglielmo “would not be well served by a delay in starting this trial.”

The sides tried private mediation earlier in May to settle the case, according to court documents.

Guglielmo’s counsel also wrote that the firm representing the county has five attorneys from three cities and access “to a deep bench of resources,” and that it is difficult to believe the defense “cannot be ready for a trial that has been scheduled for eight months.”

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Just before midnight on Jan. 15, 2015, Sgt. Matthew Snyder and other jail personnel went into Guglielmo’s cell when an altercation began and Guglielmo’s head hit the concrete wall. The circumstances of how and why that happened vary depending on the version told by each side.

A Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office internal affairs report found Snyder’s use of force was appropriate, though other jail personnel said in depositions that Snyder said he was going to teach “that old man” a lesson and “beat his ass” before he went to the cell allegedly because Guglielmo was banging on the door. Not long after the incident, Snyder took a $5 per hour pay cut and asked to go back to road patrol.

The lawsuit alleged excessive force and deliberate indifference to serious medical needs. It named as defendants Montgomery County, its board of commissioners, then-Sheriff Phil Plummer, Snyder, Deputy Matthew Sears and corrections officers (COs) David Cohn, Zachary Zink, Brandon Ort and Benjamin Cooper. In the complaint, Guglielmo alleged some COs stood in the way of a surveillance camera so his beating wouldn’t be captured on video.

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The lawsuit said Guglielmo (listed as 5-foot-10, 140 pounds) served in the Air Force as an operating room technician but suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and was residing at a homeless shelter in Dayton when he was arrested Jan. 15, 2015, for resisting arrest, obstructing official business and aggravated menacing.

The complaint said Snyder “beat Guglielmo repeatedly and threw him against the concrete wall” and “delivered several closed-fist strikes” to Guglielmo’s head, eye area and abdomen. It said other employees didn’t stop Snyder.

After midnight on Jan. 16, 2015, Guglielmo was transported to Miami Valley Hospital, where he underwent surgery, the complaint stated.

RELATED: Homeless veteran beaten in to coma in jail, lawsuit alleges

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