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News in Brief

Arizona: A private prison guard in Arizona was picked up on drug charges in California on April 18, 2023, as he made his way back from Mexico with his wife and kids – along with almost 53 pounds of meth and heroin stashed in the gas tank. The Arizona Republic reported that when the California Highway Patrol stopped Fernando Urrutiaguillen, 34, on I-5 in Irving, troopers became suspicious and ordered a K-9 search of the vehicle, finding and seizing the drugs. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office charged the young father with eight felony counts related to the drug seizure. Officials do not believe Urrutiaguillen’s family knew of his smuggling activities, nor were they involved. Urrutiaguillen pleaded not guilty and was booked in the Orange County Jail in lieu of $3 million bail. The Army National Guardsman faces a possible 21-year prison sentence.

Arkansas: On April 22, 2023, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that a former Dallas County Jail guard was sentenced for smuggling cellphones and vaping devices wrapped in a blanket to a federal detainee at the lockup. A federal judge sentenced Carah Bizzle, 37, of Bearden, to time served and three years of supervised release. Bizzle was also ordered to pay a $100 mandatory special assessment. According to the plea agreement, the closed-circuit security video revealed Bizzle trading and handing various objects to detainees, including cellphones and vaping devices. The vaping devices later tested positive for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. The plea agreement also stated Bizzle smuggled a cell phone to detainee “K.L.” prior to August 30, 2020, which was then used to contact people outside the jail.  In a September 2020 surveillance video, Bizzle retrieved what was believed to be a cellphone from another detainee, “J.W.”  After investigators obtained Cash App records that confirmed payments to her from detainees held in the jail, she then confessed her involvement in the smuggling scheme.

Australia: According to a report by Nine News on April 14, 2023, two Australian prisoners had their sentences lengthened for assaulting a pair of guards in 2020, taking one of them hostage to extort buprenorphine. “DM,” 22, the leader of the ambush, was serving a 35-year sentence for murder at the time of the assault. On December 19, 2020, DM and co-conspirator Noel Barrett, 25, rushed Nathan Fuller as he and another guard unlocked a door. The other guard escaped, but DM pressed a shiv against Fuller’s neck and forced him to kneel, yelling, “I want my bupe injection” and threatening to kill the guard. DM and Barrett were not on the list to receive buprenorphine, however. The two prisoners tortured Fuller for hours “spitting on him, stabbing him with a shiv, punching him until he lost vision, dousing him with cleaning fluids which caused severe chemical burns, and spraying him with insect repellent before threatening to set him alight.” The judge sentenced DM to another 13 years and Barrett to 10 years.
Acknowledging they had endured horrible childhoods, he stated DM and Barrett showed gratuitous cruelty towards Fuller, who now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and other physical and mental ailments.

California: With a no-contest plea on April 3, 2023, a Yuba County Jail detainee was convicted of fatally poisoning a fellow detainee with fentanyl. The local Appeal-Democrat reported that Aaron Charles Henning, 45, of Marysville, had been charged with involuntary manslaughter for the in-custody death of Matthew Perez in November 2022 and was also implicated in the near-fatal poisoning of two other detainees just one day after Perez died. The Yuba-Sutter Narcotic and Gang Enforcement Team arrested Henning for possessing fentanyl for sale on October 26, 2022, reportedly seizing over an ounce of fentanyl. Henning was booked into the Yuba County Jail. According to the District Attorney’s Office, Henning concealed an additional half-ounce of fentanyl and smuggled it into the jail after his booking. Henning admitted to bringing fentanyl into the lockup but told detectives he used it all himself. In an ironic twist, Henning told investigators he worried about family members using drugs and called fentanyl the “gray death.” His sentencing was scheduled for May 1, 2023, when Henning faces an agreed-upon sentence of 12 years and four months in state prison. 

Canada: At a sentencing hearing on March 31, 2023, prosecutors pushed for a jail term for a guard convicting of assaulting three subdued prisoners at Calgary Remand Centre in February 2019. The Calgary Herald reported that the lawyer for Heera Singh Chahal, 32, contends there is no precedent in Canada for the proposed nine-to-twelve-month jail term. Defense counsel provided a list of cases to the judge in which peace officers who had assaulted prisoners received only discharges up to conditional sentences. Prosecutor for the Crown Martha O’Connor said aggravating factors made Chahal’s conduct worse than that of cases supplied by his attorney. O’Connor mentioned the three victims and three assaults and pointed out that Chahal made a deliberate decision to kick the prisoners while they were subdued on the ground. Judge Allan Fradsham convicted Chahal of two counts of assault and one of assault causing bodily harm as result of the altercation in the northwest Calgary jail. On May 9, 2023, Chahal was sentenced to 180 days in jail plus one year of probation. 

Connecticut: A Connecticut prison guard fired for a racist Facebook post in 2021 has been reinstated, according to a report by AP News on April 6, 2023. Former Garner Correctional Institution guard Anthony Marlak was fired on May 26, 2021, for a post picturing hanged Muslim men over the caption “Islamic wind chimes.” [See: PLN, Aug. 2021, p.62.] But an arbitrator found that the response by the state Department of Corrections (DOC) was excessive. Marlak’s sanction was reduced to a 25-day suspension, and DOC was ordered to let him resume his 14-year career, along with back pay and lost benefits.

Florida: On April 6, 2023, a guard employed by the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) in Florida was indicted for sexually abusing a prisoner, WPLG in Miami reported. A federal grand jury in North Florida charged Lenton Jerome Hatten, 54, of Tallahassee, with one count of sexual abuse of an individual in federal custody. Hatten was employed as a sports specialist with BOP when he allegedly engaged in sexual acts with a prisoner between October 2021 and August 2022. The trial is scheduled for June 15, 2023, at the U.S. Courthouse in Tallahassee before the Honorable Senior U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle. Hatten faces up to 15 years in federal prison, five years to life on supervised release and a $250,000 fine if convicted. 

Florida: A guard fired from the Putnam County Jail in January 2023 for assaulting both a detainee and a fellow employee was arrested three months later on suspicion of conspiring to smuggle Ecstasy, pot and cigarettes into the lockup, according to a report by WCWJ in Jacksonville on April 4, 2023. David Garcia, 25, a well-known boxer turned sheriff’s deputy, fell under the influence of Latin Kings member Francisco Arroyo, 29, after he began working in the jail in October 2022. Garcia’s involvement in the smuggling scheme was uncovered by the guard who was hired to replace him in January 2023. Arroyo attempted to bribe the new guard to take Garcia’s place in the contraband conspiracy, but the new hire informed his superiors after refusing to participate. The new guard then helped detectives by going undercover for several months resulting in Arroyo being transferred to another Florida lockup where he did not know prisoners or guards. As part of the same investigation, Garcia is now facing charges of introducing contraband into his former workplace along with the battery on a prisoner that led to his termination in January. After Garcia turned himself in, he posted a $100,000 bond.

Florida: A detainee found covered in blood at the Sarasota County Jail on April 16, 2023, has been accused of murdering his 80-year-old cellmate, according to a report by WFLA in Tampa.  Court records show that Zachary K. Ellis, 21, and his twin brother were charged with domestic battery in August 2022. The deputies on call noted that the brothers were drinking beer at the time. After being booked and placed in a cell with the elderly detainee, Ellis at some point before 3:39 a.m. bludgeoned his cellmate so viciously with his fist that the walls and ceiling were splattered with blood, and Ellis’ face, arms and hands were soaked with blood. The elderly prisoner sustained significant wounds to his face and head, including a large cut along his jawline exposing bone. First responders were unable to revive the 80-year-old. Ellis will be charged with second-degree murder as a result of the initial investigation, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.

Florida: A former guard at a recorded making sexually explicit phone calls to a prisoner at a federal lockup in central Florida was convicted of sexual abuse on April 12, 2023, WFLA in Tampa reported. Fiona Eyana Palmer, 39, of Wesley Chapel, engaged in sexual acts with a prisoner at the Coleman Federal Correctional Complex, a low-security prison located 50 miles northwest of Orlando. Two recorded phone calls between the guard and the prisoner provided the evidence to convict Palmer. During the calls the two discussed sexual acts with Palmer offering to send money to a relative of her prisoner paramour. The sentencing is scheduled for a later date, when Palmer faces 15 years in federal prison. 

Georgia: Not much punishment was announced on April 6, 2023, for a Camden County Jail guard caught on video assaulting a detainee the month before. For the beat-down of Zyaire Ratliff, the guard identified as “J. Anderson” received a one-day suspension without pay, his boss told WJAX in Jacksonville, Florida. But jail administrator Maj. Rob Mastroianna also promised that Anderson “learned from it.” Apparently, he didn’t learn when three guards were earlier fired from the jail in 2022 after they were caught on video beating a detainee in his cell and ripping out his dreadlocks. [See: PLN, Dec. 2022, p.63.] Anderson’s ire was ignited when Ratliff, a Muslim detainee fasting for Ramadan, got into a food service line to ask about visitation and refused an order to leave.

Georgia: On April 15, 2023, the U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) for the Southern District of Georgia announced a guilty plea to federal drug charges by a former state DOC guard, one of 76 defendants indicted after a massive January 2023 drug sweep dubbed “Operation Ghost Busted” for the white supremacist prisoners who led the conspiracy. Desiree M. Briley, 26, of McRae-Helena, held the rank of sergeant in the DOC and was training to be a K-9 handler at the time of her arrest in January 2023. Briley conspired with James D. NeSmith, 25, a lifer at Telfair State Prison in the town of McRae-Helena. The two, along with 74 other coconspirators, worked inside and outside state prisons to move drugs and guns in at least ten South Georgia counties. The white supremacist street gang known as the Ghost Face Gangsters masterminded the criminal enterprise. The Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces investigated for over two years to bring the indictment. Briley faces up to 20 years in prison.  

Guam: A guard with the territorial DOC of Guam was arrested on April 23, 2023, on charges he smuggled meth and other contraband into the lockup in Mangilao, Pacific Daily News reported. The island – which is barely three times the size of Washington, D.C. and located 3,300 miles west of Hawaii – is home to guard Travis William Francis Venus, 30, who faces drug and misconduct charges. Venus told police he was delivering food to a prisoner and “did not know there was anything other than food in the bag,” according to the magistrate’s complaint filed in Superior Court. The day of his arrest officials found four baggies of chewing tobacco, two vape pens, two baggies of suspected methamphetamine and a glass pipe with a bulbous end in Venus’ bag at the prison. DOC launched an internal investigation and released a statement saying, “when and if he is released by the court, the officer will be placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the internal investigation.” Venus is being held on $25,000 cash bail and faces a 36-year sentence if convicted of all charges. according to the Office of the Attorney General.

Iowa: A Tama County Jail guard who was fired for having sex with a detainee avoided jail time when she pleaded guilty on April 6, 2023, KCRG in Cedar Rapids reported. Kayla Mae Bergom, 27, of Vinton, engaged in sexual acts with a prisoner at the Tama County Jail on multiple occasions between September 2022 and April 2021. Bergom was charged with three counts of sexual misconduct with a prisoner in April 2022 after the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation completed its work a month after learning of the accusations. Christopher Lee Cungtion, Jr., 30, filed suit against Tama County and other county employees in November 2022 alleging physical and mental distress resulting from Bergom’s abuse. In the complaint Cungtion states that Bergom used her cellphone to record the jail surveillance cameras showing him performing sex acts. He also stated that the relationship increased his anxiety and actually caused a fight between himself and other inmates. The jury trial is scheduled for September 2023. 

Illinois: Three Cook County Jail guards were arrested in separate incidents over one week in late April 2023, according to reports by CBS News. On April 18, 2023, the network reported that Richard Smith, 44, was charged in the September 2022 beating of a prisoner who was handcuffed to a wall in the residential treatment unit for medical and mental health issues. Smith was de-deputized after the incident and the sheriff’s office sought to suspend him without pay and fire him. He was charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct. The day after that report, on April 19, 2023, Reginald Roberson, 52, was accused of roughing up a prisoner in December 2021, grabbing his shirt and shoving him back into the bullpen when he requested a medical evaluation. Roberson then took a handcuff, wrapped it around his fist like brass knuckles and punched the 29-year-old prisoner to the ground, lacerating his ear and face. The injuries required stitches. Roberson was also de-deputized after the incident. He turned himself in before his first court appearance, and his bond was set at $20,000. Finally, on April 25, 2023, Alan Kettina, 25, was arrested and charged with murder in a fatal shooting outside a Niles nightclub two days earlier. WLS reported that Kettina shot 22-year-old Mark Asber in the back after Asber allegedly threatened to harm Kettina and his family if the guard did not smuggle contraband into the jail. Kettina, who was hired in November 2021, was de-deputized immediately. His bail was set at $400,000. 

Kentucky: On April 7, 2023, a guard fired from the Kenton County Detention Center was charged with smuggling drugs to detainees, according to a report by WXIX in Cincinnati, Ohio. Curtis Malik Edwards, 26, was receiving money from people outside the jail to deliver drugs to prisoners. Edwards allegedly also used a gun to transport the drugs into the facility. After the jail found evidence pointing to an employee smuggling drugs, the Northern Kentucky Drug Strike Force began its investigation. Agents were able to catch Edwards red-handed when he went to his car to retrieve a batch of drugs after a lunch break. Court documents claim Edwards was carrying marijuana, and Kenton County Commonwealth Attorney Rob Sanders says the strike force agents believe two balloons found on Edwards were full of fentanyl. Sanders also said they believed Edwards was not acting alone and schemed with different prisoners to introduce contraband into the lockup. More charges could be filed against Edwards and his coconspirators when the case goes before the Kenton County Grand Jury. The former guard faces 25 years. 

Kentucky: WHAS in Louisville reported that a former guard with Metro Corrections Department (MCD) surrendered on April 12, 2023, to an arrest warrant issued the day before on suspicion she conspired to smuggle drugs into the MCD lockup. When MCD suspected Cynthia Kosman, 29, of potentially working with Louisville Metro Detention Center (LMDC) detainees and people on the outside to smuggle contraband into the facility, they tipped off the Louisville Metro Police Department Public Integrity Unit. Detectives investigated and confirmed the conspiracy which led to Kosman’s suspension, then resignation in February 2023, and arrest the following month. Kosman was charged with official misconduct, promoting contraband, and conspiracy to promote contraband. She is being held on a $5,000 bond. Co-conspirators Gary Burns and Trinity Barnett, who are prisoners at LMDC, and Marjon Watson, who allegedly conspired from the outside, were all issued arrest warrants.  

Louisiana: After just six months on the job with the state DOC – and a month after her arrest on suspicion of smuggling contraband – a guard was fired from the state penitentiary in Angola on April 6, 2023. WAFB in Baton Rouge reported that Sarah Irwin, 31, of Angola, was found with drugs, alcohol and 16 cell phones when she was arrested on March 27, 2023. Irwin was booked by the West Feliciana Parish Sheriff’s Office on charges including introduction of contraband, possession with intent to distribute and malfeasance in office. 

Louisiana: On April 14, 2023, a St. Tammany Parish jail guard was fired and arrested after a fellow guard discovered “suspicious correspondence” that implicated her in a smuggling operation at the lockup. The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that Breanna Sparrow, 31, “was assisting individuals inside and outside the facility to facilitate bringing illegal narcotics into the jail.” The young woman had less than a year on the job when she started conspiring to introduce contraband into the jail. The Sheriff’s Office, however, did not reveal any evidence linking her to the crime. Sparrow was charged with three counts of malfeasance, three counts of introducing contraband into a penal institution, possession with intent to distribute drugs and possession of a gun in the presence of drugs. 

Michigan: A former guard with the state DOC was sentenced on April 20, 2023, for sending nude selfies to a 13-year-old girl, the Detroit News reported. Shawn Francis, 35, who lives in Ohio but worked at the Gus Harrison Correctional Facility in Adrian, Michigan, began sending the inappropriate text messages and photos to the niece of long-time family friends in June of 2022. He also requested nude photos from the victim and an in-person meeting, which is suspected to have taken place in Monroe, Michigan. The teen’s mother found the communications and contacted police. Prosecutors then charged Francis in July 2022 with enticing a minor for immoral purposes. Francis received a sentence of two to twenty years for sexually abusive activity involving children, according to court documents, after pleading no contest in March to the charge.

Mississippi: On April 7, 2023, the Vicksburg Daily News reported the arrest of a Central Mississippi Correctional Facility guard after state DOC investigators searching her vehicle found drugs and cellphones allegedly ready to smuggle to prisoners. Jasmeshia Kharae Wilkins, 32, of Mendenhal, had been employed as a guard only since November 2022 when she was booked into the Rankin County Detention Center. DOC’s Criminal Investigation Division found several bags of what was believed to be marijuana, edible gummies containing THC and three cellphones in her parked car at the lockup in Pearl. Wilkins was handed one count of possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute; one count of Introduction of Contraband into a Correctional facility; and one count of Conspiracy. Bond was set at $142,500.

Missouri: The recapture of a detainee who escaped the Ray County Jail on March 28, 2023, became a talking point for Sheriff Scott Childers’ pitch to construct a new lockup, according to a report by KSN in Kansas City on April 7, 2023. Prisoners Justin Robinson and Liam Olinger were able to escape from the jail in Henrietta by stabbing a guard in the neck with a shank fashioned from a piece of metal pried off the wall of the rusty and deteriorating pod where they were housed. Robinson, in jail for stabbing his pregnant girlfriend in the stomach in January 2023, was considered the more dangerous of the two. Olinger, being held for identity theft, was recaptured quickly after the escape. Robinson was on the lam for a week until law enforcement was tipped off that he was heading for Texas and picked him up at a bus station in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The pair will face new charges stemming from the attack on the guard who survived and their subsequent escape. Sheriff Childers informed the public that he had taken measures at the jail to ensure that other detainees would not escape the way Robinson and Olinger did. 

Missouri: A former guard accused of assaulting a handcuffed detainee at the St. Louis City Justice Center pleaded guilty on April 3, 2023, local station KMOV reported. Edward Lamar Barber, 42, was processing prisoners at the center in July 2019 when prisoner “M.J.” struck another clerk. A guard pepper spayed M.J. and placed him on the floor. Barber and another guard then escorted M.J. to a cell. According to Barber’s plea agreement, M.J. entered the cell without injuries. But once in the cell, Barber forced him to the ground, and M.J. suffered fractures to his nose and orbital wall. Barber pleaded guilty to a civil rights charge, one felony count of deprivation of rights under color of law. He admitted to violating M.J.’s right to be free from unreasonable force. Sentencing is scheduled for July 6, 2023, and carries a possible 10-year sentence, a $250,000 fine, or both. 

Missouri: On April 11, 2023, a federal prisoner in Missouri was indicted for punching a BOP warden in the face. KOLR in Springfield reported that Omar Romero-Morales, 36, was charged by a federal grand jury in Springfield with assaulting the warden at the U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners. The FBI and BOP investigated the case, which is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Carney.

New York: A guard at BOP’s Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn pleaded guilty on April 19, 2023, to taking bribes in exchange for smuggling contraband into the lockup, the Brooklyn Eagle reported. Quandelle Joseph, 32, began smuggling soon after starting the job in May 2020 and took tens of thousands of dollars in bribes from MDC prisoners over the last three years. Prosecutors accused Joseph of passing drugs, cigarettes, and phones to at least three inmates. He began by charging $8,000 for his smuggling services but eventually raised his fee to $12,000, one of those prisoners told investigators. They first learned of Joseph’s activities in December 2020 when staff searched the cell of a racketeering suspect after smelling marijuana. During the search a cellphone was found with a video showing Joseph carrying in a bedroll and leaving it with the cell’s occupant when Joseph was supposed to be working elsewhere in the jail. That search resulted in the prisoner confessing he was trafficking in contraband with the help of Joseph and another guard, Jeremy Monk. On April 18 Joseph was released on $50,000 bond after appearing in federal court. Monk pleaded guilty in March 2023 to taking a $10,000 bribe to smuggle marijuana to prisoners the year before. [See: PLN, May 2022, p.63.] Three other former guards are already serving sentences for sexually assaulting prisoners at the lockup. [See: PLN, Mar. 2023, p.40.]

New York: A former guard at the Rockland County Jail pleaded guilty on April 24, 2023, to first-degree unlawful imprisonment, as well as to forcible touching, which is a misdemeanor, the Lower Hudson Valley Journal News reported. John Kesek, 36, was accused by the unnamed victim in 2021, when he and a former fellow guard, Christopher Taggert, were already facing charges of sexually assaulting a detainee at the jail in 2019. [See: PLN, Feb. 2021, p.62.]  Taggert, who was also charged with smuggling contraband to the victim, struck a deal and resigned in April 2022, when he was sentenced to two years of probation for official misconduct. Kesek pleaded guilty in December 2022 to exposing himself to the detainee and falsifying daily log entries to cover up his contact with her. In exchange, he accepted a five-year probated sentence. For his latest conviction, Kesek is set to receive another five years of probation at sentencing in July 2023.

Ohio: A former Erie County Jail guard pleaded guilty on April 12, 2023, to federal charges that he choked a detainee while attempting to secure her in a restraint chair, “causing her vision to pixelate” and leaving “lasting bruising,” the Sandusky Register reported. Adam Bess, 35, of Sandusky, pleaded guilty to one count of deprivation of rights stemming from an incident in the booking room of the jail on October 31, 2021. Surveillance video captured Bess placing his hand on the throat of Tiffany Banks when he and other officers were struggling to place hers in a restraint chair to take her mug shot. Banks said repeatedly that she couldn’t breathe while cursing and voicing other complaints, according to Sheriff Paul Sigsworth. The sheriff also said that Bess could be heard swearing at the woman. A press release from the office of Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle M. Baeppler stated that during the altercation the detainee “can be heard yelling, ‘He’s about to kill me, he’s about to kill me.’” Bess’ law enforcement record shows no previous use of violence, but he could be sentenced to 10 years in federal prison on the charge. 

Pennsylvania: On March 29, 2023, a former state DOC guard was sentenced to almost two years in prison and ordered to register as a sex offender for the “indecent” assault of a prisoner at the State Correctional Institution (SCI) in Cambridge Springs. The Sharon Herald reported that Alexius D. Castro, 24, of Hermitage, was a guard at the women’s prison for about 18 months before being fired on April 11, 2022. Castro pleaded guilty in December 2022 to indecent assault without the consent of another person in authority, a second-degree misdemeanor. A plea deal allowed Castro to avoid the felony charge of institutional sexual assault. According to court documents Castro had kissed and sexually touched a female prisoner in January 2022. In August 2022 the Pennsylvania State Police charged Castro with one count of institutional sexual assault, the charge that was eventually dropped in the plea. The Pennsylvania Sexual Offenders Assessment Board determined Castro was not a sexually violent predator but required her to register as a Tier 1 sexual offender for 15 years. Castro told the judge at her sentencing, “I apologize for my actions — I won’t be back.”

Pennsylvania: WNEP in Scranton reported that a state DOC guard was accused on March 23, 2023, of sexually assaulting two fellow employees at SCI-Dallas. David Andrew Hoover, 41, of Larksville, used vulgar language and groped both women in November 2022.  Hoover allegedly made lewd comments to the first victim about her sexual preferences and what he wished to do with her, even inviting her to his truck for oral sex. He crossed the line with victim number one when he groped her buttocks from behind without warning on the third day of harassment. He told her he took the brazen action “because you have a cute face, butt, and big titties.” Hoover then turned his unwanted attention to a second female employee after being rebuffed by the first one. Investigating officers reported that Hoover made inappropriate comments to the second victim and, on the same day, groped her chest. In another incident Hoover forced his hand down the second victim’s shirt and grabbed her breasts while the two were in a security room. When she told him to stop Hoover laughed and said no one cares. Investigators recorded several incidents of sexual assault involving Hoover and the two victims as they worked the case. Hoover is charged with making terroristic threats and indecent assault.

Pennsylvania: Police in Pottsville arrested a detainee at the Schuylkill County Prison for punching a guard on April 21, 2023. The local Republican & Herald reported that a homeless man, Brad Eiler, 41, started the incident by using the toilet to flood his cell. Two guards told Eiler repeatedly to clean up the water and when he refused, they entered the cell to do the job themselves. According to the police report, when they entered the cell Eiler began shouting at them and then charged. The ensuing scuffle spilled out into the walkway and Eiler struck one of the guards with his closed fist, next to the guard’s eye. Reinforcements arrived, and guards succeeded in handcuffing the homeless man. Eiler was charged with aggravated assault and simple assault and arraigned by Orwigsburg Magisterial District Judge Andrew J. Serina.

South Carolina: On April 25, 2023, the Daily Mail reported that documents filed in the controversial early release of convicted murderer Jeroid Price, 43, revealed he was in a relationship with a former state prison guard when she reported that Price had saved the life of a co-worker. Asia Love left the state DOC in 2011, but a year later she applied to visit Price at his prison, falsely claiming to be his sister. That request was denied when the lie was found out. Then in a 2019 affidavit to the sentencing court, Love said that in 2010 Price saved the life of another guard threatened with a broomstick by a prisoner whom Price tackled. That testimony may have played a part in the decision by Richland County Judge Casey Manning to release Price in March 2023 – 16 years before the end of his original 35-year prison term for killing Carl Smalls at a Columbia nightclub in 2002. Manning retired the day after granting the release, apparently without getting a chief judge’s sign-off, as required by law. Price’s attorney insisted that Love’s affidavit carried less weight in his early release than help Price provided in identifying and re-capturing another prisoner in 2017. But state Attorney General Alan Wilson (R) successfully petitioned the state Supreme Court to return Price to prison on April 26, 2023. See: State v. Price, S.C., Case No. 2023-000614.

Washington: When a detainee slept through the call for his release from the Cowlitz County Jail on April 17, 2023, his cellmate answered – and then faked his way to a two-day escape. KOIN in Portland reported that Brian Francisco Roman, 26, was asleep in a cell with two other detainees when staff called for one to be released. Roman woke up and took the sleeping man’s place. Jail staff noted that Roman and the other detainee resembled each other before conducting the release process with Roman, who forged his cellmate’s signature on release papers and accepted the other man’s wallet, keys, clothes, ID, and a debit card.  Guards became aware of their mistake when the detainee who was impersonated asked about his released. The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office used Facebook to request help in finding Roman. It is not clear whether Facebook tips aided in the search, but he was recaptured on April 19, 2023, in Scappoose, Oregon. The escapee will face charges of second-degree escape, first-degree criminal impersonation. forgery, second-degree theft and third-degree theft.