Eight years after the tragic death of a 23-year-old patient with schizophrenia at Bridgewater State Hospital, three prison guards are slated to stand trial Tuesday on charges they killed Joshua K. Messier while forcefully strapping him to a bed in a brutal scene captured on prison video.
The trial, scheduled to unfold in Plymouth Superior Court, once seemed highly unlikely even though the medical examiner ruled that the guards caused Messier’s death. Plymouth District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz in 2010 determined there was insufficient evidence to pursue criminal charges, and none of the guards was charged or even disciplined.
But four years later, after The Boston Globe reported on the guards’ rough treatment of Messier on the night he died, Attorney General Martha Coakley appointed a special prosecutor to investigate.
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