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Four Florida Guards Charged in Fatal Beating of Elderly, Mentally Ill State Prisoner

By Jo Ellen Nott

On April 29, 2022, nearly ten weeks after the death in transport of an elderly and mentally ill state prisoner, a fourth guard with the state Department of Corrections (DOC) was arrested and charged with his murder.

The prisoner, Ronald Gene Ingram, 60, died on February 14, 2022, in the back of a DOC van, after the mentally ill man reportedly threw urine on guards when they came to his cell to initiate a transfer and, in retaliation, they allegedly beat Ingram so severely he was dead when the van arrived at a stop in Ocala, 345 miles away.

Ingram was serving a life sentence for a 1986 murder in Hillsborough County. At the time of his fatal transfer, he was living in a single cell in the mental health unit at Dade Correctional Institution in south Miami-Dade County. On that Valentine’s Day morning, Ingram was scheduled for a transfer to Lake Correctional Institution in Central Florida. Before leaving his cell, Ingram allegedly threw urine at guard Jeremy Godbolt. Other guards then cuffed Ingram and removed him from his cell.

Despite being handcuffed and compliant, he then suffered a vicious beating, allegedly at the hands of Godbolt and fellow guards Ronald Connor, Christopher Rolon and Kirk Walton. They then carried him to a transport van and put in a compartment by himself. Hours later, during a stop in Ocala, Ingram was found lying dead on a bench in the van.

An autopsy showed that he died from a punctured lung that led to internal bleeding. He also had face and torso injuries congruent with a beating. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement kept Ingram’s identity secret for weeks until media reports connected the date of the then-unnamed inmate’s death to DOC records for Ingram which stated he was no longer in custody as of that date.

Connor, 24, Rolon, 29, and Walton, 34, were arrested on April 28, 2022, a day before Godbolt, 28. The four now face charges of second-degree murder, conspiracy to commit second-degree murder, aggravated abuse on an elderly or disabled person, and cruel treatment of a detainee. All four are being held without bail at Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center in Miami. DOC Secretary Ricky Dixon said any other staff members who might have been involved in Ingram’s transfer were removed and placed on administrative leave.

Sources: Law Officer, Miami Herald, Tallahassee Democrat, WTVJ

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