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Settlement conference set in relation to jail beating death

By KATIE CLONTZ - kclontz@thecouriertimes.com

A jury trial has been postponed for one of the four New Castle men accused of participating in a jailhouse beating that led to the death of former inmate Brian L. Gosser. All cases are pending in Henry Circuit Court 1.

Joshua G. Wilson, 26, was supposed to appear in court Tuesday, but his trial has been postponed until April 30, court records indicate. Wilson is charged with aggravated battery, involuntary manslaughter and two counts of theft.

Besides Wilson, the other men allegedly involved include Justin R. Fannin, 37, David D. Mettert, 49 and Joseph W. Flynn, 33.

Fannin’s trial is scheduled for Feb. 26. He is charged with aggravated battery, involuntary manslaughter and theft.

Flynn’s trial is scheduled to begin March 5. He is charged with aggravated battery and involuntary manslaughter.

Mettert’s trial is planned for Feb. 26. Mettert is charged with aiding in the commission of aggravated battery. He allegedly closed a cell door with Gosser inside, knowing other inmates, including Fannin, Flynn, and Wilson, would inflict injury.

Gosser, 32, died March 4, 2016 from injuries he allegedly sustained during fights at the jail in late February 2016. At the time of his death, Gosser, the son of former Rush County Sheriff Doug Gosser, was in jail facing charges of operating a vehicle while intoxicated and public intoxication with habitual vehicular substance offender enhancement.

A probable cause affidavit states Gosser was the target of repeated beatings from numerous inmates and had been moved from several different cell blocks from Feb. 27 to March 3, 2016. Jail incident reports were filed about the alleged beatings. Gosser told jail staff his commissary items, including e-cigarettes, were frequently stolen.

During the Feb. 27, 2016 hospital visit, Gosser told medical staff that three other inmates beat him three times the day before, the affidavit said. Gosser claimed the last alleged beating was the most severe and he was punched repeatedly in the head and face, kicked and kneed in the back, chest and ribs and lost consciousness. Gosser told medical staff he coughed up large blood clots. Doctors confirmed Gosser had a broken nose, broken facial bones and fractured ribs and released him back to the Henry County Jail.

Gosser was taken back to the hospital the evening of March 3, 2016 for complications related to injuries he previously received, Henry County Sheriff Ric McCorkle stated in court documents. Gosser was transferred to St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis, where he died.

In September 2017, Gosser’s family filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Henry County Sheriff’s Department. That case is pending in United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. 

Online court records indicate a settlement conference is scheduled before Magistrate Judge Matthew P. Brookman on June 20 at the United States Courthouse on Ohio Street in Indianapolis.