Friday, January 22, 2010

Former Fulton County Sheriff’s Deputy Convicted on Obstruction of Justice Charges Related to Federal Investigation of Inmate Death

MITNEE MARKETTE JONES, 46, of Atlanta, Georgia, a former Fulton County Sheriff’s Deputy assigned to work at the Fulton County Jail, was convicted by a federal jury late yesterday in Atlanta for her role in the obstruction of a federal investigation of a 2008 inmate death.

Acting United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, “We’re still uncertain exactly why Mr. Glasco died, but this conviction brings us one step closer to learning the truth. Deputy Jones lied and covered up what happened in Mr. Glasco’s cell, and now she is being held accountable.”

Gregory Jones, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta, said, “The conviction of Fulton County Sheriff's Deputy/Jailer Mitnee Jones on charges related to lying to the FBI and providing false statements as part of a serious investigation into the death of a Fulton County jail inmate should serve as a message to others that the FBI expects full cooperation in such matters. For a sworn law enforcement officer to deliberately mislead a federal investigation is unconscionable, and the jury, with a returned verdict of guilty, agreed that it should not be tolerated.”

Fulton County Sheriff Ted Jackson said, “Sworn officers are expected to be honest and anything less will not be tolerated within the Fulton County Sheriff's Office. No one should turn a blind eye to the mistreatment of persons in custody. This conviction is further proof that we will hold staff members accountable for their actions while expecting all employees to promote high standards of professionalism for next generation of detention officers.”

According to Acting United States Attorney Yates and evidence presented during the trial: JONES and two co-workers—former Detention Officer DERONTAY LANGFORD and Detention Officer Chantae Taylor—filed false incident reports omitting that jail staff had entered the cell of Richard Glasco and engaged in a physical altercation with him a short time before Glasco was found unresponsive on the floor of his cell. According to eyewitness accounts, a group of officers including JONES, LANGFORD and former jail Security Specialist CURTIS BROWN, entered Glasco’s cell and used force to subdue Glasco because Glasco was being loud and banging on his cell door and window. Approximately an hour after the group entered the cell, Taylor and LANGFORD discovered Glasco unresponsive and not breathing on the cell floor. Glasco was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

After a three-day trial, the jury convicted JONES of: 1) filing a false incident report with the intent to hinder the federal investigation; 2) making a false material statement about the incident to a Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); and 3) obstruction of justice by making false statements to a federal grand jury investigating Glasco’s death.

JONES faces a maximum prison sentence of 20 years for filing the false incident report with the intent to hinder the federal investigation; five years for making a false material statement about the incident to the FBI; and 10 years for obstruction of justice by making false statements to a federal grand jury. JONES also faces a maximum fine of $250,000 on each count. 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.

JONES will be sentenced by United States District Court Judge J. Owen Forrester in April 2010.

LANGFORD, who testified against JONES, pleaded guilty on September 22, 2009, to obstruction of justice for his false testimony to a federal grand jury on August 27, 2008, when he was questioned about the death of Glasco. He is awaiting sentencing by Judge Forrester. BROWN, who faces similar federal charges, is awaiting trial. No trial date has yet been set. Taylor, who cooperated with the federal investigation from the beginning, has not been charged.

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