Sentencing continues Wednesday for white former law enforcement officers in Mississippi who pleaded guilty last year to breaking into a home without a warrant and torturing two Black men with a stun gun, a sex toy and other objects.

Daniel Opdyke, 28, and Christian Dedmon, 29, are set to appear separately before U.S. District Judge Tom Lee. They face lengthy prison terms.

On Tuesday, Lee gave a nearly 20-year prison sentence to 31-year-old Hunter Elward and a 17.5-year sentence to 46-year-old Jeffrey Middleton. They, like Opdyke and Dedmon, worked as Rankin County sheriff’s deputies during the attack.


Another former deputy, Brett McAlpin, 53, and a former Richland police officer, Joshua Hartfield, 32, are set for sentencing Thursday.

The former officers admitted months ago that they tortured Michael Corey Jenkins and Eddie Terrell Parker. Elward admitted to shoving a gun into Jenkins’ mouth and firing in a “mock execution” that went awry.

In a statement Tuesday, Attorney General Merrick Garland condemned the “heinous attack on citizens they had sworn an oath to protect.”

Michael Corey Jenkins' scar

Michael Corey Jenkins, who along with Eddie Terrell Parker had been victims of torture by then six Mississippi Rankin County law officers in 2023, shows the scar left from having a gun fired off in his mouth by one of the now former lawmen, while outside the federal courthouse in Jackson, Mississippi, on March 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Before Lee sentenced Elward and Middleton, he called their actions “egregious and despicable.”

The terror began Jan. 24, 2023, with a racist call for extrajudicial violence when a white person in Rankin County complained to McAlpin that two Black men were staying with a white woman at a house in Braxton. McAlpin told Dedmon, who texted a group of white deputies so willing to use excessive force they called themselves “The Goon Squad.”

Once inside, they handcuffed Jenkins and his friend Parker and poured milk, alcohol and chocolate syrup over their faces. They forced them to strip naked and shower together to conceal the mess. They mocked the victims with racial slurs and shocked them with stun guns. Dedmon assaulted them with a sex toy.

After Elward shot Jenkins in the mouth, they devised a coverup that included planting drugs and a gun. False charges stood against Jenkins and Parker for months. Jenkins suffered a lacerated tongue and broken jaw.

The majority-white Rankin County is just east of the state capital, Jackson, home to one of the highest percentages of Black residents of any major U.S. city.

The officers warned Jenkins and Parker to “stay out of Rankin County and go back to Jackson or ‘their side’ of the Pearl River,” court documents say, referencing an area with higher concentrations of Black residents.

Dedmon is also set to be sentenced for the leading role he played in an assault on a white man that occurred before Jenkins and Parker were tortured. For the first time Tuesday, prosecutors identified the victim as Alan Schmidt and read a statement from him detailing what happened to him on Dec. 4, 2022.

During a traffic stop that night, Schmidt said Rankin County deputies accused him of possessing stolen property. They handcuffed him, pulled him from his vehicle and beat him until he “started to see spots.” Dedmon fired his gun into the air and forced Schmidt to his knees, the statement said.

Dedmon shoved a gun against Schmidt’s temple and tried to insert his genitals into the man’s mouth, as Elward watched, and Dedmon grabbed Schmidt’s genitals during the ordeal as the man screamed, Schmidt said. The assault didn’t stop until the officers took Schmidt to jail.

“What sick individual does this? He has so much power over us already, so to act this way, he must be truly sick in this head,” Schmidt wrote in his statement.

Last March, months before federal prosecutors announced charges in August, an investigation by The Associated Press linked some of the deputies to at least four violent encounters with Black men since 2019 that left two dead and another with lasting injuries.


Elward and Middlelton were emotional as they apologized in court. Elward’s attorney, Joe Hollomon, said his client first witnessed Rankin County deputies turn a blind eye to misconduct in 2017.

“Hunter (Elward) was initiated into a culture of corruption at the Rankin County Sheriff’s Office,” Hollomon said.

For months, Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey, whose deputies committed the crimes, said little about the episode. After the officers pleaded guilty in August, Bailey said the officers had gone rogue and promised to change the department. Jenkins and Parker have called for his resignation, and they have filed a $400 million civil lawsuit against the department.

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