BEAVER, WV (WOAY) – Six former correctional officers have been indicted by the United States Department of Justice for their part in the alleged assault, death, and coverup of an inmate last year.
The six individuals named are Mark Holdren, Cory Snyder, Johnathan Walters, Jacob Boothe, Ashley Toney, and Chad Lester.
Lester was a former lieutenant. The other five were named as officers.
The inmate, Quantez Burks, was allegedly assaulted by Snyder and Holdren after Burks tried to leave the pod he was in.
The indictment says that Snyder, Holdren, and Walters took Burks to an interview room and beat him. They then took him to cell in a different part of the jail, again beating him while he was handcuffed.
The indictment says that the unreasonable force used by officers directly led to the Burks’s death.
According to the document filed, both Boothe and Toney failed to stop the other officers from beating Burks.
Investigators say that none of the five officers included the use of unreasonable force in their reports.
The indictment says that several of the officers threatened witnesses, and Lester gave officers who cooperated with the investigation undesirable work assignments.
The officers also allegedly lied to investigators.
Mark Sorsaia, the secretary of the West Virginia Department of Homeland Security, released a statement about the indictment.
“The West Virginia Department of Homeland Security, the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and the Governor’s Office worked closely with Federal Law Enforcement concerning the six individuals named in a federal indictment today. It’s important to note that we alerted the federal authorities to this matter and worked closely with federal authorities throughout the entirety of the investigation to assist in holding those responsible for unlawful acts accountable. We have no tolerance for abuse of any kind to be inflicted on inmates that are housed in our state facilities and we are committed to the safety, quality of life, and to the well being of those in the care of the legal system in our state. Under the law those charged with crimes are entitled to a full adjudication by our courts according to the Constitution. We will continue to provide full transparency and cooperation to law enforcement in this matter. Furthermore, we continue to extend our deepest sympathies to those who are grieving the loss of a loved one.”
The investigation was conducted by the FBI, out of the Pittsburgh field office.
Newswatch will provide further information as this story develops.