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Guard convicted in NYC inmate's 2012 death

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Posted at 1:07 AM, Dec 18, 2014
and last updated 2015-12-13 01:07:54-05

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.