Missouri prison guard with history of abusing inmates pleads guilty to harboring fugitive
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Missouri prison guard with history of abusing inmates pleads guilty to harboring fugitive

Vandalia : MO : USA | Jan 24, 2013 at 4:14 PM PST
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A Missouri prison guard implicated in abusing women at the trouble-plagued Womens Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Vandalia, Mo., has found herself on the wrong side of the law for harboring her fugitive husband.

Brittany Caudle-Durlin, 23, of Fulton, Mo., pleaded guilty last month to hindering prosecution and was fined $500, which has not been paid according to a court official.

According to court documents and investigators, Caudle-Durlin admitted to lying and deceiving Callaway County deputies when they went to her house in May to arrest her husband, David R. Durlin, 23, on drug-related charges.

Caudle-Durlin told deputies that her husband was not in the residence, and she refused deputies entry to the residence so they could confirm she was telling the truth, according to a court filing.

“Deputies went to her [Caudle-Durlin's] residence to arrest her husband on a failure to appear warrant for drug charges, she said he wasn't there, and she refused officers permission to search the house. Surveillance was set-up and a short time later a deputy observed her and Durlin enter a car, she was arrested and charged with Hindering Prosecution,” said Jeff Harding, a deputy with the Callaway County Sheriff's Department.

Court documents confirm Harding's statement, but add that deputies had to wait only 10 minutes before they saw the couple leave the residence together and get in a car.

“Caudle eventually told me she knew about the warrant, and that Durlin was home and she lied when I asked if he was in the residence,” said Curtis Hall, another Callaway County deputy, according to a court filing.

Guard's husband has violent and extensive criminal past

David Durlin's extensive criminal history includes charges of assaulting Caudle-Durlin last January by grabbing her and throwing her down in the bathroom, court documents allege. Durlin pleaded guilty to the charges in September and received probation and a suspended sentence.

Apparently the violent assault by her husband has not deterred Caudle-Durlin's commitment to him. This past February, Caudle-Durlin said of her husband, “He is an asshole, but I love him. We have been together since high school and I will always stand by him.”

Her recent conviction seem to confirm her willingness to stand by her man, as Tammy Wynette would say.

Caudle-Durlin was given the opportunity on Monday to deny making this statement. She declined to do so.

David Durlin's criminal past also includes:

  • a conviction for possession of drug paraphernalia on June 15, when he was also found in possession of brass knuckles, according to court documents;
  • a felony charge of stealing a neighbor's puppy last June, in which Durlin admitted stealing the puppy because the neighbor's boyfriend “owed him money,” according to a court document; and
  • a still-pending charge of driving while intoxicated on Sept. 8.

In May, Caudle-Durlin was one of the prison guards alleged to have abused women offenders at the Vandalia prison. In the second part of the report exposing serious abuses at the prison, Caudle-Durlin was said to ignore and joke about offenders who were experiencing emotional crises and to often simply turn the intercom off, making no effort to assist or even determine what the offender(s) needed.

By harboring a fugitive, Caudle-Durlin is in violation of state ethics and code of conduct

Missouri Department of Corrections policy mandates that all employees “abide by the law” both on and off duty. Prison guards also must abide by a strict code of conduct that requires them to “represent to the public the highest moral, ethical and professional standards” in both their professional and private lives.

Vandalia prison has a history of retaining guards convicted of crimes, some of them violent

Caudle-Durlin is the latest in a string of guards at the Vandalia prison to be convicted of criminal charges.

Last January, guard Mark Isgrig was convicted of sexually assaulting and fondling women offenders.

In March 2008, guard Anthony Windmiller of Bowling Green, Mo., was charged with endangering the welfare of a 5-year-old child and domestic assault for almost causing his partner to run off the road with her child in the car while attempting to keep her from leaving a residence, court documents allege.

After the unidentified woman got her car stuck, Windmiller yelled at her and “continually tapped on the window (of her car) in order to get her to exit the vehicle,” a Pike County deputy wrote in an affidavit. Windmiller “knowingly acted in a manner that created a substantial risk to the life, body and health” of the 5-year-old, a court document alleges.

Windmiller was subsequently convicted of disturbing the peace in that case according to court documents. He has since been promoted to Sergeant.

In 2005, guard Melvin Strange was convicted of assaulting his then-girlfriend with such violence he knocked her unconscious. Also in 2005, supervising guard Jason Woodhurst was convicted in the assault of a subordinate on prison grounds.

All of the guards except Isgrig remain employed at the prison.

Both Caudle-Durlin and Angela Mesmer, the warden where Caudle-Durlin is currently assigned, have declined to comment.

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Hindering Prosecution document
StephenPope is based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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  • Hindering Prosecution document

    Hindering

  • Court document confirms Caudle-Durlin's husband admitted to stealing neighbor's puppy.

    Puppy

  • Hindering Prosecution document

    Hindering

  • Court document showing Caudle-Durlin's history of violence

    Assault

  • The Missouri prison where guards with criminal pasts, such as Caudle-Durlin are allowed to work. (Photo by Steve Pope)	 	 	 	 	 

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