A New York City jail guard has been convicted of a civil rights charge after a jury concluded he ignored the pleas of a dying Rikers Island inmate who had swallowed a toxic soap ball.
Terrence Pendergrass shook his head repeatedly as the verdict was announced Wednesday in Manhattan federal court.
The 50-year-old guard faces up to 10 years in prison at his April 17 sentencing.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said the conviction and "systemic, institution-wide reforms" his office is pursuing should prevent similar deaths in the future.
Pendergrass was charged in the death of a 25-year-old man with bipolar disorder who was held on a burglary charge.
The man was left for hours unattended and was discovered dead the next day.