Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Former Fulton County Jail Detention Officer Pleads Guilty to Lying to Federal Grand Jury about Death of Inmate

DERONTAY ANTON LANGFORD, 34, of Fairburn, Georgia, a former detention officer at the Fulton County Jail, pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Atlanta to obstructing justice by lying to a federal grand jury investigating the 2008 death of an inmate at the jail.

Acting United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, “Although the circumstances surrounding Mr. Glasco’s death remain under investigation, this guilty plea brings us one step closer to learning the truth. Those who obstruct our efforts to learn the truth should expect to be prosecuted.”

Gregory Jones, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta, said, “Today’s guilty plea by former Detention Officer Langford should serve as reassurance to the public that the FBI is serious about getting to the truth and facts in an investigation such as this. It is unfortunate, to say the least, that former Detention Officer Langford set aside his sworn oath as a law enforcement officer and its underlying commitment to the truth in providing information in this investigation.”

Fulton County Sheriff Theodore “Ted” Jackson said, “Obstructing an official investigation by making false statements is never acceptable and should be prosecuted. I fully support the United States Attorney’s Office and the FBI’s investigation of alleged criminal activity in the Fulton County Jail and will continue the partnership with them.”

According to Acting United States Attorney Yates and information presented during the guilty plea hearing: LANGFORD acknowledged that he testified falsely before a federal grand jury on August 27, 2008 when he was questioned about the death of an inmate on March 18, 2008. LANGFORD admitted that during his testimony he falsified, concealed and omitted material information regarding an encounter and physical contact with the inmate a short time before the inmate was found unresponsive on the floor of his cell.

Court documents state that at the time of his death, the inmate was housed in the medical unit of the jail due to a mental health condition that required medication. Eyewitnesses have told federal authorities that three detention officers, including LANGFORD, entered the inmate’s cell and engaged in a physical altercation with the inmate. The inmate was on the floor when the officers left his cell. A short time later, the inmate was discovered unresponsive and not breathing on the cell floor and was transported to Grady Hospital. According to the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s report, the inmate’s cause of death was “probable disrhythmia associated with acute psychotic episode and agitation.”

LANGFORD is tentatively scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Court Judge J. Owen Forrester, on Thursday January 14, 2010, at 10:30 a.m. Langford faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. In determining the actual sentence, the Court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.

LANGFORD’s co-defendants, Curtis Jerome Brown, Jr., and Mitnee Markette Jones are scheduled for a jury trial on October 13, 2009.

This case is being investigated by Special Agents of the FBI.

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