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3 S.C. COs arrested, accused of taking inmate bribes and distributing contraband

One CO allegedly received more than $15K from inmates over eight months for giving out contraband items


Photo/YouTube via News 19

By Morgan Hughes
The State

RICHLAND COUNTY, S.C. — Three officers at Richland County’s Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center have been arrested on charges of misconduct in office, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department announced Monday.

The officers allegedly accepted bribes from jail detainees, warned detainees about impending cell searches and distributed contraband to detainees.

Casey Weirich, Nakia Smith and Lynntesha Barr have all been booked into the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.

Weirich was arrested Jan. 25 and is accused of accepting bribes from an inmate. The arrest came after a “large seizure of contraband” was taken from a detainee’s cell. Weirich allegedly alerted detainees to upcoming cell searches.

Smith was arrested Feb. 1. She is accused of having a contraband cellphone on her person while at the jail, with the intention of giving the items to detainees, according to the sheriff’s department. She was arrested after investigators received an anonymous tip.

Barr was arrested Feb. 3. She allegedly received more than $15,000 from detainees over eight months for giving out contraband items. Jail administration reported Barr to the sheriff’s department after she was seen on video handing an item to an inmate, according to the sheriff’s department news release.

Barr resigned from the jail Jan. 3, according to a document obtained from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. Her separation is listed as “resigned/voluntary.”

The arrests come as the jail has been under scrutiny from the state Department of Corrections as well as local attorneys. The jail has routinely violated state standards, according to inspections of the facility conducted by the Department of Corrections.

Blake Taylor, director of compliance, standards and inspections for the Department of Corrections, wrote a letter to Richland County Council Chairman Overture Walker Jan. 19 informing him that if the county doesn’t come up with a remediation strategy, the jail’s ability to remain open could be challenged.

Richland County attorney Patrick Wright told The State that the county is actively working on that remediation strategy and that many of the problems identified in the inspections are being addressed.

Friday, Bakari Sellers and the Strom Law Firm issued a formal request to the United States Department of Justice asking for a formal inquiry into the jail, following numerous deaths and other incidents at the jail.

Four people have died at the jail in the last 12 months.

In February 2022, 27-year-old Lason Butler was found dead in his cell at the jail. An autopsy revealed he died of dehydration, and a report noted he had rat bites on his body. The Richland County Coroner deemed the death a homicide.

Thirty-eight-year-old James Mitchell was found dead Dec. 7 at the jail, but that’s all the information that has been shared about his death.

On Jan. 17, Demond Thompson died just two hours after arriving to the jail. The county has not shared any information about Thompson’s death beyond confirming the death to The State.

On Jan. 27, Antonius Randolph was found murdered at the facility. Five other detainees have been charged in his killing.

The State reporter Zak Koeske contributed to this report.

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