Court rules Sheriff Niles won't face a manslaughter charge

Jerry Niles

OKLAHOMA CITY — Garfield County Sheriff Jerry Niles will not face a manslaughter charge in the death of an inmate who was left in a restraint chair for more than two days.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals on Thursday rejected special prosecutor Chris Boring’s request to reinstate the charge against Niles, who is on paid leave. The ruling upholds two previous rulings that there is insufficient evidence that Niles is criminally responsible for the June 2016 death of inmate Anthony Huff.

Niles still faces a federal civil rights lawsuit alleging a failure to provide medical care for Huff’s symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, in addition to misdemeanor nepotism charges.

Three other people charged in Huff’s death entered pleas last month to amended charges of second-degree manslaughter.

Former jail administrator Jennifer Niles pleaded guilty, but entered a blind plea with a recommendation from the state. In a blind plea, there is no set deal with prosecutors and the judge sets punishment.

Former jailer Shawn Caleb Galusha entered a plea of no contest to his amended charge as part of a deal with prosecutors. He received a three-year deferred sentence, was ordered to serve 55 hours in Alfalfa County Jail, pay a $1,000 assessment, $250 to the victims compensation fund, $25 jail costs and all other court costs.

Former jailer John Robert Markus pleaded guilty to his amended charge of second-degree manslaughter and received a four-year suspended sentence and was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine, $250 to the victims compensation fund, $25 jail costs and all other court costs.

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