ST. LOUIS – A federal judge has sentenced a St. Louis correctional officer to four years in prison in connection with an inmate attack last year.

Demeria Thomas, 39, pleaded guilty in February to a felony charge of deprivation of rights under color of law. Investigators say Thomas allowed two inmates to attack another inmate on March 22, 2021, while she was employed as a corrections officer at the St. Louis Justice Center.

Prosecutors say Thomas unlocked an inmate’s cell door, which allowed two inmates to enter and attack the occupant. During the attack, Thomas reportedly told other inmates to stay away, preventing them from coming to the aid of the victim.

Investigators say the inmate lost a tooth while suffering a broken jaw, severe bleeding and a concussion. Family members of the victim say he still suffers from PTSD, headaches and seizures because of the attack.

Jail officials didn’t learn of the attack until two days later. Thomas also failed to disclose the assault and filed no report of the incident. In court Tuesday, an FBI special agent testified that Thomas and the victim had a verbal altercation prior to the attack.

The case was investigated by the FBI and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.