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Ex-NY jail guard gets 6-month sentence for beating detainee

A former Schenectady jail guard who beat and seriously injured a detainee has been sentenced to six months behind bars, to the dismay of prosecutors who sought a stiffer sentence.

Eugene Sellie pleaded guilty to felony assault and misdemeanor official misconduct charges in the November 2020 beating of John Mannarino. But while prosecutors had offered a plea deal involving four years in state prison, Sellie instead took a different offer from Glens Falls City Court Judge Gary Hobbs: The former guard admitted to all the charges in exchange for a six-month sentence to be served in the local jail.

“The disposition, I don’t believe is inconsistent with justice,” Hobbs said, noting that Sellie had no prior convictions and hadn’t previously been accused of abusing inmates.

Sellie’s lawyer, Andrew Safranko, told the Times Union of Albany that the plea “provides certainty to Eugene, his family and the community.”

But Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney said the sentence, which includes five years’ probation, “just doesn’t reflect the gravity of harm Mr. Sellie caused.”

“This was an unprovoked assault on an inmate, which caused life-threatening injuries,” Carney told The Daily Gazette of Schenectady.

Sellie led Mannarino into a changing area without surveillance cameras and assaulted him after the victim complained that officers were taking too long to process his arrest, authorities said.

Mannarino suffered broken ribs, a collapsed lung and a broken collar bone. Released without any medical attention, he collapsed on a nearby sidewalk. A parole officer noticed and aided him.

Mannarino sued the county, which settled the case last fall for $562,500.

Sellie and his supervising sergeant, Timothy Bruce, were fired shortly after the attack. Bruce pleaded guilty Tuesday to misdemeanor official misconduct and was ordered to pay a $500 fine.

Mannarino’s lawyer, Kevin Luibrand, said his client had expected more serious consequences for the beating but appreciated that charges were filed in the first place.

Mannarino “is not expressing criticism toward anyone other than the officer who broke his ribs and assaulted him and those who covered it up,” his attorney said.