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Four Inmates, Four Correctional Officers Charged With Attempt To Kill Inmate

Reported: Apr. 19, 2014 11:50 PM EDT
Updated: Apr. 20, 2014 12:09 AM EDT
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (Dave Benton) -- Four prisoners and four correctional officers are charged with trying to kill an inmate at the Western Regional Jail.

An indictment charges the four prisoners, Steven Lee Adkins Jr., James Dennis Galloway, James Roy Michael Keeney and Jared I. Harris, along with correctional officers Steven D. Adkins of Milton, Benjamin Browning of Kermit, John Bruhin of Huntington and Jeffrey Winkler of Chesapeake, Ohio with an attempt to kill a 19-year-old inmate, Zachary Lawson, who is accused of sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy.

West Virginia Jail Authority director Joe Delong said the plot to kill Lawson was more than just talk.

Neither he, nor the indictment, disclosed the nature of any attack, but Delong reportedly said Lawson received medical treatment in the jail, and said "all correctional officers are held to a very high standard. When I believe people have committed acts within our facilities that are improper or illegal, I'm not going to terminate those people and move on. We are going to work to prosecute."

People in Charleston responded to the news.

“I think any punishment would have to be enhanced, because of their position, their position of authority and responsibility,” Mark Gomez of Charleston said. “They’re supposed to be taking care of people and they clearly crossed the line.”

Phil Keeney of Charleston echoed that sentiment.

“The guards’ number one job is to keep order, no matter what,” Keeney said. “No matter who's going to hurt whom. It comes on the guards who are at fault more than anybody.”

The four correctional officers are no longer employed at the jail. Each one will be arraigned in Cabell County Circuit Court.



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