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2 Texas corrections officers indicted for murder in inmate’s death

Investigators said the April incident began with a routine cell shakedown, where Tarrant County Jail employees located a shank and razor in the inmate’s cell

Tarrant County Corrections Center Jail Cells

Jail cells at the Tarrant County Corrections Center in Fort Worth on Jan. 25, 2024.

Chris Torres/TNS

Weatherford Democrat, Texas

FORT WORTH, Texas — The Texas Department of Public Safety Monday announced the arrests of two men in connection with the death of a Tarrant County Jail inmate.

Joel Garcia and Rafael Moreno, both corrections officers, were indicted by a grand jury on murder charges after an April incident that left Anthony Johnson, 31, dead.

DPS reported Garcia turned himself in to the Parker County Sheriff’s Office Friday, and Moreno turned himself in to the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office Saturday. Both have since posted bond and been released.

The inmate died following an altercation with Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office corrections officers; two COs involved in the incident have been fired

Investigators said the April incident began with a routine cell shakedown, where jail employees located a shank and razor in Johnson’s cell, before turning into a wrestling incident between Johnson and the jailers.

Video capturing the incident reportedly showed Moreno put a knee in Johnson’s back, while another officer pepper sprayed Johnson.

His cause of death, per the Tarrant County Medical Examiner, was listed as due to “mechanical and chemical asphyxia.”

“As promised, the Texas Department of Public Safety, Ranger Division, conducted a thorough, impartial, and meticulous investigation of the death of Anthony Johnson,” DPS Regional Director Jeremy Sherrod said. “We provided the findings of that investigation to the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office, which resulted in the murder indictments. We know that this has been a painful, and at times, a prolonged process for the family of Anthony Johnson, but now this case moves to the next step in the judicial process.”


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