Former correctional officers appear for arraignment, learn their trial date

BECKLEY, W.Va. — Four former correctional officers of the Southern Regional Jail appeared in Beckley Federal Court for their arraignment Tuesday and received their trial date.

Mark Holdren, 39; Johnathan Walters, 35; Cory Snyder, 29; and Ashley Toney, 23, have all been charged in connection with the beating death of 37-year-old pre-trial inmate Quantez Burks. All four, plus Jacob Boothe, who’s scheduled to be arraigned Thursday, are accused of playing direct roles in Burks’ death by depriving him of his civil rights.

The former officers appeared before U.S. District Judge Frank Volk and a trial date was set for Jan. 23.

All of the correctional officers were detained except for Ashley Tony. She was the only one able to post bond.

Former lieutenant, Chad Lester, 33, was also arraigned Tuesday. He’s also been charged in the alleged cover-up.

All six people were indicted last week for attempting to conceal the actions of two other corrections officers, who have already pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the rights of citizens. Andrew Fleshman, 21, and Steven Nicholas Wimmer, 24, have a sentencing date scheduled for Feb. 22. They face up to 10 years in prison for beating Burks while he was restrained in their custody.

U.S. attorney for southern West Virginia Will Thompson alleges that the corrections officers that have been indicted all tried to make sure that the situation was covered up.

“At the time this happened, at the time the coverup happened, it was the guards, the people in charge at the jail – did what they could,” Thompson said. “They wanted to make sure what happened in that jail did not get out to the public.”

Burks had only been in jail for 24 hours. He died March 1.

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