BARBOURSVILLE, W.Va. — An indictment unsealed late Friday in Cabell County alleges four inmates and four correctional officers at the Western Regional Jail in Barboursville conspired to kill another inmate. The charges are connected to an attempted murder from last October.
The four correctional officers have already been fired–the four inmates moved to other jails.
State Regional Jail Authority Director Joe DeLong told the Huntington Herald Dispatch the plot was uncovered by the authority’s internal investigators.
“All correctional officers are held to a very high standard,” DeLong told the newspaper. “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 who commit criminal activity within our facilities, whether those people are current inmates or members of our staff.”
The alleged target was inmate Zachary Lawson, 19, who has been in jail in connection with alleged sex crimes. He’s scheduled to go on trial in August in Mason County. The indictment doesn’t give details on why Lawson was targeted or what exactly happened to him.
The inmates indicted include Steven Adkins, Jr., James Galloway, James Kenney and Jared Harris. They are charged with attempted murder and conspiracy.
The now former correctional officers indicted are Steven Adkins of Milton, Benjamin Browning of Kermit, John Bruhin of Huntington and Jeffrey Winkler of Chesapeake, Ohio. Adkins is charged with being an accessory before the fact of first-degree murder. The others are charged with aiding and abetting attempted murder.
Arraignments will now be scheduled in circuit court in connection with the four-count indictment.