Charges against 5 deputies dropped in case of Irvo Otieno’s death

On Monday, the family of Irvo Otieno expressed outrage over the prosecutor’s decision to drop murder charges against five sheriff’s deputies involved in his death at a Virginia mental health hospital last year.

Dinwiddie County Commonwealth Attorney Amanda Mann took action on Sunday by filing a motion to withdraw the charges against five of the eight Henrico County sheriff’s deputies. The judge promptly granted this request.

Caroline Ouko, Otieno’s mother, expressed her disagreement with the plan and emphasized that the evidence clearly supports their case. “We did not endorse her plan. I don’t know what video others are looking at, but we all know what we saw. This is a solid case,” Ouko stated during a press conference on Monday after her meeting with Mann. She further appealed to the Justice Department to step in and take action.

“We are counting on the Dinwiddie commonwealth attorney to fulfill her duties and prosecute the case. However, if she is unwilling to do so, we implore the Department of Justice to step in and take action. Where are you, DOJ? This is a plea for your intervention,” Ouko emotionally expressed, her voice trembling with emotion.

“It’s time. It’s time for you to come to Richmond with your boots and stand up for Irvo. Let’s seek justice for my son.”

Charges against two deputies and one hospital employee are still pending, but the second-degree murder charges against deputies Randy Joseph Boyer, Dwayne Alan Bramble, Jermaine Lavar Branch, Bradley Thomas Disse, and Tabitha Renee Levere have been dismissed.

Russ Stone, Bramble’s attorney, expressed satisfaction that the prosecutor made a decision based on the law and evidence rather than other factors.

The motions to drop the charges are officially referred to as “nolle prosequi,” which, as family attorney Mark Krudys explains, means that “the commonwealth’s attorney can bring these cases back, but it is an agonizing wait.” He further adds, “We were going to begin less than a month from now, and now we have to start in the fall.”

Otieno passed away on March 6, 2023, while being admitted to the Central State Hospital in Virginia for medical treatment following his arrest for alleged burglary. According to surveillance footage, sheriff’s deputies and medical personnel restrained him after he became physically aggressive towards officers. The video depicts a distressing scene with 10 individuals restraining Otieno, who was already handcuffed, for a duration of over 10 minutes.

The cause of Otieno’s death was determined to be “positional and mechanical asphyxia with restraints,” leading to the ruling of homicide in the subsequent month.

“He was held back, they had him,” exclaimed the family’s attorney, Benjamin Crump. “He wasn’t going to escape. He was in a mental health hospital, for goodness’ sake. Why did they feel the need to place such a heavy burden on him, to the extent that it caused his suffocation and ultimately led to his death?”

In September, the family of Otieno reached a settlement of $8.5 million with Henrico county, the state, and the sheriff’s office. In exchange for the settlement, the sheriff’s office denied any liability in Otieno’s death.

Reference Article

Avatar photo
MBS Staff
Articles: 7043

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *