Emily Rice Published

Six Former Correctional Officers Charges With Federal Offenses

Six former correctional officers have been charged with federal offenses following the death of an inmate at Southern Regional Jail. 

A federal grand jury in Charleston charged five former correctional officers in connection with an assault that resulted in the death of an inmate, identified by the initials, Q.B. 

Those former correctional officers are Mark Holdren, 39, Cory Snyder, 29, Johnathan Walters, 35, Jacob Boothe, 25, and Ashley Toney, 23.

All five correctional officers, as well as a former lieutenant, Chad Lester, 33, were also charged with covering up the use of unlawful force.

The indictment alleges that, on March 1, 2022, Holdren, Snyder and Walters conspired with other officers at the Southern Regional Jail in Beaver, West Virginia, to use unlawful force against Q.B. to retaliate for his earlier attempt to leave his assigned pod. 

The indictment further alleges that Holdren, Snyder and Walters struck and injured Q.B. while he was restrained and handcuffed, and that Boothe and Toney failed to intervene in the unlawful assault, resulting in Q.B.’s death.

The indictment alleges that all six defendants conspired to cover up the use of unlawful force by omitting material information and providing false and misleading information to investigators.

There were 13 reported deaths at the Southern Regional Jail in 2022, and more than 100 deaths in the state’s regional jail system in the past decade.

Advocates claim in many of these cases, a person died shortly following their arrival, sometimes within 24 hours.

On March 10, the Poor People’s Campaign, held a rally called “West Virginia Mothers and Families Deserve Answers” on the front steps of the state capitol building alongside grieving families of incarcerated individuals.

One of the 13 inmates who died last year was Quantez Burks, also known in court documents as Q.B.

The maximum penalties are life in prison for each of the civil rights offenses, five years in prison for each of the false statement offenses, and twenty years in prison for each of the remaining offenses.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney William S. Thompson for the Southern District of West Virginia and FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael D. Nordwall of the FBI Pittsburgh Field Office made the announcement.

The FBI Pittsburgh Field Office investigated the case.

Deputy Chief Christine M. Siscaretti and Trial Attorney Matthew Tannenbaum of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Monica Coleman for the Southern District of West Virginia are prosecuting the case.