Irvo Otieno: 10 people involved in the death of a 28-year-old black man in a psychiatric hospital are charged with murder. Here’s what we know


Three out of 10 people are charged with murder death last week of a 28-year-old black man The Virginia psychiatric facility had security guards at the hospital who watched and then participated in the fatal strangulation, the prosecutor told CNN on Friday.

The victim’s family wants answers on how a promising musician who survived what they called a mental health crisis ended in death, and why no one stood up for him and stopped him from killing.

The county’s attorney said seven law enforcement officers, joined by hospital workers, “strangled him to death” while holding him down.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Commonwealth Attorney Anne Cabell Baskerville said, referring to the unreleased video showing the man’s death.

Baskerville said the hospital guards passively watched the alleged strangulation, but eventually joined in and swung down on the victim along with aides.

The local law enforcement union says they are “supporting” the MPs, and a lawyer for one of the accused MPs said he was looking forward to the full truth being revealed in court.

Here’s what we know about the fatal accident.

Irvo (pronounced EYE-voh) Otieno was 28 years old. He had a passion for music, family lawyer Mark Krudis said Thursday, and has been working on becoming a hip-hop artist. Originally from Kenya, he came to the United States when he was 4 years old.

His mother, Caroline Ouko, said he has “found his footing” in music and can write a song in less than five minutes. “He put his energy into it and was happy with it,” she said at a press conference on Thursday.

According to her, Irvo had a big heart, and his classmates came to him when they had problems. She added that he was a leader who offered his own point of view.

“If there was a discussion, he wasn’t afraid to go the other way when everyone else followed him,” she said.

According to Ouko, her son had a mental illness that required treatment. He had long periods where “(you) didn’t even know anything was wrong” and then there were times when “he had some distress and then you knew he needed to see a doctor” , – she said.

Irvo Otieno

On March 3, Otieno was arrested by Henrico County police who responded to a report of a possible burglary. in accordance with police news release. Officers, accompanied by members of the county emergency response team, placed him in emergency custody.

The officers took him to the hospital, where authorities say he attacked three officers. The police took him to the county jail and he was arrested.

On March 6, Otieno was taken to the state psychiatric facility in Dinwiddie County and died during the appointment. Baskerville.

“They choked him to death,” the prosecutor said.

A preliminary report by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond cited strangulation as the cause of death, the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office said in a statement.

According to Baskerville, the Seven Deputies kept Otieno on the ground in handcuffs and shackles for 12 minutes.

Baskerville said Friday that video of the apparent strangulation shows hands covering Otieno’s mouth, hands on his head and hands holding his braids.

At the Henrico County Jail, shortly before Otieno’s transfer to Central State Hospital on March 6, Baskerville said, he was naked in his cell, covered in feces.

She told CNN that the video she was watching from his camera shows Otieno was visibly agitated and upset. CNN didn’t see the video.

According to Baskerville, Otieno was sprayed with pepper spray before five or six Henrico prison officers entered the cell and grabbed him.

“He lies on the ground under them for several minutes,” she said. “And there were strikes in Henrico County Jail.

Asked if Otieno appeared aggressive, Baskerville said, “I would really characterize his demeanor as distressed rather than aggressive, belligerent.”

Later at the Central State Hospital, Otieno ended up on the ground at some point with at least 10 people lying on it, Baskerville said.

“They rest their backs on her, bending over. And this is from head to toe, from his braids on the top of his head, unfortunately, to his toes, ”she said.

Baskerville said that Otieno was eventually placed on his stomach, pressure continued on him, and he died in that position.

Baskerville believes that Otieno was dead before he even received the 911 call. According to Baskerville, the paramedics left and the state police were not called until 7:28 p.m.

“The delay in contacting the relevant authorities is inexplicable. Completely inexplicable,” she said.

Seven deputies and three hospital workers were charged with second-degree murder.

The seven MPs who have been charged were identified in Tuesday’s Baskerville release as Randy Joseph Boyer, 57, of Henrico; Duane Alan Bramble, 37, from Sandston; Jermaine Lavar Branch, 45, from Henrico; Bradley Thomas Disse, 43, from Henrico; Tabitha Rene Levere, 50, from Henrico; Brandon Edwards Rogers, 48, from Henrico; and Kyell Dajour Sanders, 30, from North Chesterfield.

On Tuesday, the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge Henrico 4, the local law enforcement union, issued a statement saying they were “supporting” the deputies.

“Police work in America today is difficult, especially because of the possibility of being charged with a felony in the line of duty,” the group said. “Mr. Otieno’s death was tragic and we extend our condolences to his family. We also support the seven MPs charged with the murder of Dinwiddie County Commonwealth Attorney Anne Baskerville.”

hospital workers arrested On Thursday, they were identified as Darian M. Blackwell, 23, from St. Petersburg; Wavey L. Jones, 34, from Chesterfield; and Sadarius D. Williams, 27, from North Dinwiddie.

From top left: Tabitha Rene Lever, Kayell Dajour Sanders, Randy Joseph Boyer, Dwayne Alan Bramble and Jermaine LaVar Branch.  Bottom left: Brandon Edwards Rogers, Bradley Thomas Diess, Darian M. Blackwell, Sadarius D. Williams, and Wavey L. Jones.

There is a video, but it will not be made public. CNN requested the footage but was told the footage was not subject to mandatory disclosure as the investigation continued.

“To maintain the integrity of the criminal justice process at this point, I am unable to release the video,” Baskerville said, noting that surveillance video from a psychiatric facility captured the admission process.

Otieno’s family viewed the video provided by prosecutors on Thursday and his mother says Otieno was tortured.

“My son was treated like a dog, worse than a dog,” she screamed, angry that no one had stopped what led to her son’s death. “We have to work better.”

His older brother Leon Ochieng said people should call for help with confidence when their loved ones are in crisis. He did not believe that the people he saw in the video were concerned about saving lives.

“What I saw was a lifeless person without any image,” Ochieng said, adding that his family had fallen apart and calling for more understanding on how to treat people with mental illness.

“Can anyone explain to me why my brother isn’t here right now?” Ochieng said.

CNN solicited comments from MPs and got word from lawyers for the three defendants.

Caleb Kershner, Boyer’s attorney, told CNN he had not yet seen the video but said “nothing went out of the ordinary” in the process of Otieno’s transfer from prison to a mental hospital.

Kershner told CNN that Otieno refused to get out of the car upon arrival at the hospital and police had to use force to get him out.

Kershner also said that hospital staff administered Otieno with a sedative while he was still alive and resisting. On Wednesday, however, Baskerville said the shot was fired after Otieno was dead. CNN reached out to the hospital for comment but received no immediate response.

“My client simply held his leg during any ordeal to make sure that what we estimate to be a 350 lb male who was having a severe mental breakdown was not released in a medical facility where he could seriously injure. others. man,” Kershner said. “From my review of the case, there was nothing out of the ordinary or outside of their preparation for what they were doing.”

Peter B. Baruch, Disse’s attorney, issued a statement in defense of his client.

“Deputy Disse has a 20-year career with the Sheriff’s Department and served with honors. He looks forward to hearing this case so that the whole truth is revealed in court and confirmed,” he said.

Bramble’s attorney Stephen Hanna said he was still gathering information and declined to comment further.

CNN has heard nothing from the other lawyers, whom it has named as representing the other defendants.

A lawyer representing one of the deputies told CNN that he and other defense lawyers have not yet been able to view the video footage of Otieno’s death.

The lawyer said he was “shocked” that the video was not released and thought “they are overcharging” MPs in the case.

Lawyers for the family say Otieno did not pose a threat to deputies.

Civil rights lawyer Ben Crump, who works on behalf of the family, said Otieno was not violent or aggressive towards MPs.

“You see in the video that he is handcuffed, he has shackles on his legs, and you see in most of the video that he is kind of in between lifelessness and unconsciousness, but still you see how he is so brutally shackled with a knee. around his neck,” Crump said Thursday.

Crump said the video is “a commentary on how inhumanely law enforcement officers treat people who are in a mental health crisis like they are criminals and not like people in need of help.”

Just like arrest and death George Floyd In Minneapolis in 2020, Otieno was lying face down and tied up, according to Crump.

“Why would anyone lack the common sense to say we’ve seen this movie before?” He said.

The family’s lawyer, Mark Krudis, said deputies used excessive force.

“His mother was basically crying out for help for her son in a mental health situation. Instead, he was thrown into the criminal justice system and treated aggressively and badly in prison,” he said.

According to Krudis, the video from the psychiatric facility shows that the allegations are appropriate.

“When you see this video… you just ask yourself why?” he said.

The 10 defendants will go on trial Tuesday before a grand jury, according to online court records. If the case goes to trial and either of them is convicted, the prison term for second-degree murder in Virginia is a minimum of five years and a maximum of 40 years.

Crump called on the US Department of Justice to get involved in the investigation.