Prison denies liability for murder of inmate
Warren — The state is claiming immunity for prison officials being sued by the brother of a Maine State Prison inmate who died after being beaten and stabbed 87 times by another prisoner with a known history of violence.
The state filed its response Jan. 26 to the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Bangor brought by Caleb Boland of Jefferson, brother of Micah Boland, who was murdered Feb. 28, 2014, at the state prison in Warren.
The lawsuit initially was filed in February 2016. Caleb Boland is also the personal representative of Micah Boland's estate. Named as defendants in the civil suit are Warden Rodney Bouffard, Deputy Warden Michael Tausek, and Unit Manager Antonio Mendez.
Micah Boland died Feb. 28, 2014, at the age of 37 in his cell at the Warren prison after fellow inmate Richard A. Stahursky entered the cell, tied him up, beat him — breaking bones and knocking out teeth — and then stabbed him 87 times with a homemade knife.
The lawsuit claims the warden and deputy warden met with Stahursky after a homemade knife, known as a shank, was found in his mattress in 2013. Top prison officials asked Stahursky whether he could assure them that he would not stab anyone if they let him out of segregation and into the general prison population, but Stahursky stated that he could not do so because they knew how he felt about child sex offenders, the lawsuit states.
The state denies that allegation but did admit that Stahursky said if he had the chance he would kill two inmates he believed reported him for having a shank.
In 2014, Stahursky and Boland both were assigned to the same section of the prison.
That action created a substantial risk of serious harm to Boland, the lawsuit states. Prison officials were deliberately indifferent to Boland’s safety, which violated Boland’s right not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment, the lawsuit alleges.
Stahursky, 37, was sentenced in December 2015 to life in prison for the murder. At the sentencing hearing, Stahursky said he slept better knowing that there was one less child molester. He said he murdered Boland to “strike fear into the hearts” of all other sex offenders in the prison.
When he was killed, Boland had served about six years of a 22-year sentence for sexually assaulting a 4-year-old girl in 2007 in Liberty.
Stahursky has been in prison since 2002, when he was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the armed robbery of a convenience store in Fort Fairfield. But he had time added over the last decade for setting a fire at the prison, two separate stabbings of inmates with shanks and assaulting a prison guard.
Stahursky said during his December 2015 sentencing that the prison administration also should be held accountable for Boland’s death. He told Justice Daniel Billings that even though he had twice assaulted prisoners with a shank and had warned them that he was planning to kill other inmates, he was allowed to remain in the general population with sex offenders.
The lawsuit by Boland's brother seeks unspecified damages, including punitive damages.
In its January filing, Assistant Attorney General Diane Sleek argued that the prison officials are protected by immunity from such claims. The state denies it violated Micah Boland's constitutional rights and that the harm was caused by a third party.
The estate is represented by attorney John Gause of Bangor.