New charge filed in inmate’s death
ENID — Garfield County Sheriff Jerry Niles was charged again Wednesday in a jail inmate's death, this time with firstdegree manslaughter.
Anthony Huff died in 2016 after he was unlawfully confined to a restraint chair "without food, water, oversight and monitoring" in excess of 55 hours, a prosecutor alleged.
Huff, 58, of Enid, had been jailed for public intoxication and was restrained after he began hallucinating.
Niles, 60, was first elected sheriff in 2012.
He and five other defendants had been charged with second-degree manslaughter. Woodward County District Attorney Chris Boring dismissed those cases in December but said then he planned to file new ones. Also charged again Wednesday — with first-degree manslaughter — were John Robert Markus, 30; Shawn Caleb Galusha, 37; and Jennifer Niles, 35. All three were officials at the jail at the time of Huff's death. Not charged again were a nurse, Vanisa Jo Gay, and a nurse practitioner, Lela June Goatley.
First-degree manslaughter is a more serious felony that can result upon conviction in imprisonment for life. The maximum punishment for the original felony charge was four years in prison.
The sheriff took a paid suspension from office after he was first charged last July. He told county commissioners in a letter he was innocent. He has remained on suspension.
The sheriff also was charged Wednesday with a misdemeanor — nepotism. He is accused in two counts of unlawfully employing his son, Logan Niles, and his daughterin-law, Jennifer Niles.