On Oct. 9, authorities say, an inmate named Sergio Gonzalez attempted to escape the Canyon County jail. He badly hurt a jail deputy in the process, leaving the deputy dazed and bloodied with head injuries.
Days later, two other deputies may have plotted revenge. New court documents claim they tried to recruit inmates to attack Gonzalez in retaliation for his earlier assault.
That attempt never coalesced. And those other deputies — 23-year-old Kade McConnell of Caldwell, and 46-year-old Corey Weathermon of Nampa — were eventually fired after their alleged plot came to light.
On Monday, they were each charged with a felony — solicitation to commit aggravated battery (McConnell) and aiding and abetting the same charge (Weathermon). If convicted, they could each face up to 15 years in prison.
Court records from their case and others, including Gonzalez’s later charges of escape and battery on law enforcement, add context to the claim that the men were setting a trap.
Gonzalez was in jail for a parole violation and for multiple new charges of child sex abuse involving at least three separate victims, according to court records. He reportedly told investigators that he decided to escape because he “felt hopeless” over the charges. In a redacted affidavit, Gonzalez also talks to investigators about being able to “take his aggression out on” a deputy he felt was mistreating him.
While Gonzalez planned the escape over a couple of days, he said, beating the deputy and stealing the deputy’s key was a “spur of the moment” decision, court records state.
He told investigators that he thought he knew how to escape the jail, but became trapped. The affidavit describes security video that shows Gonzalez following the targeted deputy toward a bathroom and security station. The pair go off camera; moments later, the deputy “unsteadily walks back into ... view with blood on his face.” Investigators believed the deputy seemed “unaware of his surroundings,” and the affidavit states other inmates had to help call the incident in.
The report states the beaten deputy suffered a concussion, multiple facial contusions and a contusion to the back of his head. Gonzalez and another inmate were apparently stopped by other jail staff before they could leave the facility.
According to other interviews, a jail sergeant after the attack specifically told deputies not to retaliate against Gonzalez.
McConnell and Weathermon started to organize their retaliation attempt four days later, on Oct. 13, other court records claim.
The pair reportedly approached an inmate to ask about what a gang would do if a member was accused of child molestation. Authorities say Gonzalez is a member of the Sureno gang.
According to court records, one gang member told McConnell that theoretically, the person accused of child molestation would be “removed by any means necessary” and three or four men would be sent to beat the person until he was hospitalized.
McConnell then reportedly told that gang member, “You guys know what to do,” court records state.
McConnell and Weathermon also reportedly shared “non-publicly available paperwork depicting” the evidence against Gonzalez. And a criminal complaint claims they talked with inmates about how to get Gonzalez alone and unprotected.
The Canyon County Sheriff’s Office received word of the plot through an inmate on Oct. 17. Officials launched an investigation, put the deputies on administrative leave and soon handed the matter off to their Ada County counterparts.
On Oct. 23, Ada County investigators interviewed McConnell. He reportedly told them he was angry about Gonzalez’s attack on his fellow deputy. But McConnell denied putting a “hit” on Gonzalez; he said he just wanted the other inmates to know that Gonzalez was “not a good person,” according to a probable cause affidavit.
When Weathermon was interviewed the same day, he reportedly said he knew McConnell was going to give inmates information about Gonzalez’s sex crime charges. Weathermon claimed he thought McConnell was going to ask inmates what would happen if a gang knew Gonzalez was accused of child molestation.
Both deputies were fired Oct. 30. They were arrested and formally charged Monday, and held at the Ada County Jail for their own safety, Ada County Deputy Prosecutor Shelley Akamatsu said.
Both men have since posted bond and been released. Weathermon posted a $35,000 bond and is due for his first court hearing at 9 a.m. Feb. 9.
McConnell was arraigned Tuesday. Third District Magistrate Judge John Meienhofer reduced his bond from $75,000 to $15,000 that day, telling McConnell that “up until this point, you’ve led an honest and honorable life,” the Associated Press reported.