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Six correctional officers charged following death of inmate in West Virginia jail

Crystal Graham
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A federal jury in Charleston, W.Va., returned an indictment today charging five former correctional officers in connection with an assault that resulted in the death of an inmate at the Southern Regional Jail.

A conviction could result in life in prison for the former officers.

Mark Holdren, 39; Cory Snyder, 29; Johnathan Walters, 35; Jacob Boothe, 25; and Ashley Toney, 23; and a former lieutenant, Chad Lester, 33’ were also charged for covering up the use of unlawful force.

The indictment alleges that, on March 1, 2022, Holdren, Snyder and Walters conspired with other officers at the Beaver, W.Va. jail to use unlawful force against an inmate to retaliate for his earlier attempt to leave his assigned pod.

The indictment further alleges that Holdren, Snyder and Walters struck and injured the inmate while he was restrained and handcuffed, and that Boothe and Toney failed to intervene in the unlawful assault, resulting in the inmate’s death.

The indictment

  • Alleges that all six defendants conspired to cover up the use of unlawful force by omitting material information and providing false and misleading information to investigators.
  • Charges each defendant individually with engaging in misleading conduct toward another person to hinder, delay or prevent the communication of information of the possible commission of a federal offense.
  • Alleges that Walters, Holdren and Boothe submitted incident reports that contained false and misleading information, as well as omitted the fact that officers had assaulted the inmate.
  • Charges Lester, Holdren, Snyder, Toney and Boothe with making false statements to the FBI about the circumstances surrounding the inmate’s death.

The maximum penalties are life in prison for each of the civil rights offenses, five years in prison for each of the false statement offenses and 20 years in prison for each of the remaining offenses.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.