The Virginia State Police arrested seven Henrico County sheriff’s deputies on Tuesday on second-degree murder charges for allegedly killing a man who they were transferring from jail to a mental hospital.
Authorities said victim Irvo N. Otieno, 28, had been admitted as a patient at Central State Hospital in Dinwiddie County, Virginia, where he died on March 6. Police began conducting a death investigation shortly after the incident was reported.
“State police investigators were told he had become combative during the admission process,” said the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Dinwiddie County. “Otieno, who was physically restrained, died during the intake process. His body was transported to the Office of Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond for examination and autopsy.”
Prosecutors filed the case on Monday.
“Use of criminal information to render an arrest is rare in Virginia, but necessary in this particular incident,” Dinwiddie County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ann Cabell Baskervill said. “This legal tactic is for the purpose of protecting other Henrico County jail residents. It allows for a justified and immediate removal of these seven individuals from their current capacities.”
She said her office told Otieno’s family about the case on Tuesday.
The investigation is ongoing.
From Henrico County Sheriff Alisa A. Gregory:
As Henrico County sheriff and on behalf of our entire office, I extend my deepest sympathies and condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Irvo Otieno. The events of March 6, at their core, represent a tragedy because Mr. Otieno’s life was lost. This loss is felt by not only those close to him but our entire community.
The seven deputies who were transferring custody of Mr. Otieno have been placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the Commonwealth’s cases.
As an office, we are cooperating fully with the investigation of the Virginia State Police. Separately, we are conducting our own independent review of this incident.
Public safety is what we stand for as a Sheriff’s Office. We will continue to maintain the highest professional standards in how we serve and protect those in our custody, the community at-large and our staff.