On Thursday (April 28), three guards at a Florida prison were arrested and charged with murder after beating a 60-year-old inmate to death. State officials said the man reportedly throwing urine at them provoked the incident.
A statement from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said Ronald Connor, 24, Christopher Rolon, 29, and Kirk Walton, 34, were removing the elderly inmate from the mental health unit of a prison in Miami-Dade County on Feb. 14 to transfer him to a prison in North Florida.
The department announced the inmate was Ronald Gene Ingram, a convicted murderer.
According to records from the Florida Department of Corrections, Ingram was serving a life sentence on a first-degree murder conviction in 1986.
A press release read, “After the inmate was removed, even though he was in handcuffs and compliant with officer commands, agents say the officers began to beat him. The inmate was beaten so badly he had to be carried to the transport van.”
The statement revealed that although the inmate was put in a secure compartment inside the van, he was found dead inside upon arrival at the North Florida prison.
A medical examiner was able to determine Ingram’s cause of death to be a punctured lung that led to internal bleeding. The markings on his face and body were said to be “consistent with a beating.”
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle released a statement saying, “Staff misconduct, abuse or criminal behavior have no place in Florida’s correctional system.” She continued, “Individuals who are sentenced to incarceration by our criminal courts have lost their freedom but not their basic rights. Inmates should not be subject to forms of ‘back alley’ justice which are actions in violation of Florida law.”
A fourth officer is said to be wanted in connection with the crime.
Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Ricky Dixon said, “What happened, in this case, is completely unacceptable and is not a representation of our system, or of Dade Correctional Institution as a whole.” He continued, “The staff involved in this case failed, and as an agency, we will not stand for this.”
The three officers are charged with second-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, aggravated elder abuse and use of force. Walton is said to have an additional charge of petty theft.
As of Friday, Rolon, Walton and Connor were being held in Miami-Dade County jail without bail.
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