Earlier today (March 16), three Central State Hospital employees were arrested and charged with second-degree murder for their alleged roles in the death of Irvo Otieno, 28, who died during intake at the mental health facility, according to CNN. Commonwealth Attorney Ann Cabell Baskervill revealed to the outlet that Otieno’s death was captured on video; however, she is not able to release it to the public. The three workers — Darian Blackwell, Wavie Jones, and Sadarius Williams — are currently being held without bond in the Meherrin River Regional Jail in Brunswick County, Virginia. They now join seven central Virginia deputies who turned themselves in on Tuesday (March 14) and were charged with second-degree murder also. Those officers are on administrative leave pending the investigation’s outcome.
“The criminal information warrants are based on the evidence collected, analyzed and evaluated to-date,” Baskervill said. “A key element of that evidence is the surveillance video from Central State Hospital that captures the intake process. To maintain the integrity of the criminal justice process at this point, I am not able to publicly release the video.” Yesterday (March 15), in court, Baskervill stated that Otieno was in handcuffs and leg irons as he was reportedly being held on the ground for 12 minutes by all seven deputies. “They smothered him to death,” she said. “He died of asphyxia due to being smothered.”
The case of Otieno’s tragic passing began on March 3 when authorities responded to a possible burglary, found Otieno, and placed the 28-year-old under an emergency custody order for his and others’ safety, the outlet previously reported. Then, Otieno was transported to a local hospital where Henrico County law enforcement members said he was reportedly “physically assaultive toward officers.” Henrico police held Otieno at the hospital on three counts of assault on a police officer, disorderly conduct in a hospital, and vandalism. Authorities then transferred Otieno to Henrico County Jail West.
On March 6, three days later, officers grabbed Otieno from the jail and drove him to a state-run mental health facility, the outlet continued. During the intake process, law enforcement alleged that Otieno was “combative” and needed to be “physically restrained.” After he passed away, Otieno’s body was transported to a medical examiner officer for an autopsy. His cause of death was ruled as asphyxiation. “The family is grief stricken after learning of the brutal nature of Ivor’s death and his inhumane treatment in the hours preceding his death,” Mark Krudys, Otieno’s family attorney, told the outlet Tuesday. “The public, and experienced mental health professionals alike, will be deeply disturbed when the facts of this case are fully made known.”