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Inmate Death Leads To Firing Of 3 Hospital Guards

Bridgewater State Hospital at the Massachusetts Department of Correction in Bridgewater, Mass. (Lisa Poole/AP)MoreCloseclosemore
Bridgewater State Hospital at the Massachusetts Department of Correction in Bridgewater, Mass. (Lisa Poole/AP)

Massachusetts officials have fired three correctional officers in connection with an inmate's death at Bridgewater State Hospital in 2009.

State Department of Correction officials told The Boston Globe that the guards were fired Thursday after an investigation into the death of 23-year-old mental health patient Joshua Messier. Messier suffered a heart attack after a half-dozen guards strapped him to a small bed.

Gov. Deval Patrick put the three officers on paid leave six months ago. He said at the time that officials should investigate two guards, Derek Howard and John Raposo, for possible use of excessive force and Sgt. George Billadeau for possible inadequate supervision.

The guards' union called the firings politically motivated and an attempt to deflect attention away from Patrick's failings in managing the prison.

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