Four Florida corrections officers were charged with murder after allegedly beating an inmate so badly that he died this past February.
The officers — Jeremy Godbolt, Christopher Rolon, Kirk Walton, and Ronald Connor — were each hit with multiple charges, including second-degree murder, aggravated battery on an elderly or disabled person, and employee of the Department of Correction committing battery or inflicting cruel or inhumane treatment. The victim was identified during a press conference Friday, April 29, as 60-year-old Ronald Ingram, who was sentenced to life in prison, in 1986, for murder.
A lawyer for Connor declined to comment. A lawyer for Walton did not immediately return requests for comment. It wasn’t yet clear, as of publication, if Rolon and Godbolt had retained attorneys.
Ingram was killed the morning of Feb. 14, when officers were tasked with transporting him from Dade Correctional Institution to Lake Correctional Institution. Ingram was being kept in the mental health unit of DCI, and before he was removed from his cell, he reportedly threw urine on an officer trying to move him. Ingram was ultimately handcuffed and taken from his cell, and although he reportedly remained compliant with officer demands, several officers allegedly began to beat him.
During the press conference, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said Ingram was subjected to “back alley justice.” She showed video of two officers leading Ingram through the prison, noting that the footage clearly showed Ingram walking on his own. While the alleged beating took place out of the line of sight of security cameras, Rundle said, she showed video from after the alleged incident in which Rundle struggled to stay upright or walk on his own as the officers took him to the transport van.
The alleged beating was so bad that Ingram had to be carried to the transport van and placed in a secure compartment by himself. En route to Lake CI, the van made a stop where Ingram was found dead, and the medical examiner later determined the cause of death was a punctured lung leading to internal bleeding. The examiner said Ingram had injuries on his face and body consistent with a beating, and Rundle noted that the medical examiner classified Ingram’s death as a homicide.
“It appears to us… that Ingram was no longer able to walk on his own power,” Rundle said. “That he was virtually being carried to the transport van and loaded in. One witness recalled hearing another correctional officer say that ‘Ingram would never throw urine on another correctional officer again.’ And sadly we know, that statement was absolutely true.”