Mar 16, 2023 - Health

3 Virginia hospital workers charged in death of Irvo Otieno

Attorney Ben Crump during a news conference in Houston, Texas, last May. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Three hospital workers have been charged with second-degree murder in the death of Irvo Otieno, bringing the total to 10 people charged in the case, the Dinwiddie County Commonwealth's Attorney said Thursday.

Driving the news: The three, who worked at Central State Hospital at the time of Otieno's death, were arrested Thursday after seven Sheriff's deputies arrested and charged earlier this week.

Details: The cases of Darian M. Blackwell, 23, Wavie L. Jones, 34, and Sadarius D. Williams, 27, will be presented to a Dinwiddie County grand jury next week for a final determination of charges, per the prosecutor's office. They are being held without bail.

  • "A key element" of the evidence is the surveillance video from Central State Hospital that captured the intake process, said Dinwiddie County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ann Cabell Baskervill in an emailed statement.
  • The prosecutor added that she would not publicly release the video at this time "to maintain the integrity of the criminal justice process."
  • The video shows the seven deputies pushing a handcuffed Otieno down, Mark Krudys, an attorney for Otieno's family, said at a news conference Thursday.
  • "You can see that they’re putting their back into it. Every part of his body is being pushed down with absolute brutality," he added.

Of note: Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represented George Floyd's family, announced Thursday that he's joined Otieno's family's legal team.

  • "It is truly shocking that nearly three years after the brutal killing of George Floyd by police, another family is grieving a loved one who allegedly died in nearly the exact same manner — being pinned down by police for 12 agonizing minutes," Crump said in a statement.

Background: Otieno, 28, died on March 6 during the intake process at the mental health facility where he was being transferred to from county jail.

  • He was physically restrained at the time of his death, according to the prosecutor.
  • The Richmond medical examiner's office identified asphyxiation as a cause of death.
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