What started as a fight between a prison guard and an inmate has escalated into a case of alleged attempted murder.
Two prison guards and a former employee have been arrested by the FBI for conspiring to kill a black inmate in a Florida prison.
Thomas Jordan Driver, 25; David Elliot Moran, 47, and Charles Thomas Newcomb, 42, are each charged with a felony count of conspiracy to commit murder. Driver and Moran work as corrections officers; Newcomb was a former employee.
According to WJXT, an FBI informant allegedly met the men after infiltrating a branch of the Ku Klux Klan. According to an investigator, Driver told the informant that he had fought with the inmate and wanted him “six feet under.”
According to WJXT, the FBI says that their informant met with all three men over the next few months, discussing plans to kill the man, who has since been released from prison. They bandied about several plans, including injecting the man with insulin or making it look like he died in a fishing accident.
The state prosecutor and the FBI then staged the murder and had the informant tell the corrections officers that the deed had been done.
“My statewide prosecutor, acting in conjunction again with the FBI, staged a homicide scene where they took photos of the victim, who was out of prison, now, of course, making it appear that he had been violently murdered,” Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said in a press conference on Thursday. “Those photos were then shown to the corrections officers, who are alleged members of the KKK and were very proud of this killing.”
The three men face up to 30 years in jail if they are convicted.
For now, the Department of Corrections is moving to fire Driver and Moran. (According to the department, Newcomb only worked as a trainee for three months before being dismissed for failure to meet his minimum training requirements.)
“We are moving swiftly to terminate the employees arrested today and working closely with the Office of the Attorney General to assist in their prosecution,” DOC Secretary Julie Jones said in a statement. “Our department has zero tolerance for racism or prejudice of any kind. The actions of these individuals are unacceptable and do not, in any way, represent the thousands of good, hardworking and honorable correctional officers employed at the Department of Corrections.”