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Inmate charged in failed murder plot targeting 2 VADOC employees

After receiving an infraction, the inmate hired another inmate to murder a State Farm Correctional Center employee and a Victim Services Unit investigator

Men's prison Petkiewicz

By Sarah Roebuck

RICHMOND, Va. — An inmate is facing charges after he allegedly solicited the murder of two Virginia Department of Corrections employees, VADOC said in a news release.

According to VADOC, the inmate, identified as Richard Joseph Bottoms, 49, filed a Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) claim against a VADOC employee at State Farm Correctional Center in June 2023. Bottoms “continually harassed” the employee following the claim, which was later unfounded.

Following the harassment, a protective order was issued against Bottoms to prohibit him from contacting the employee.

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Bottoms violated the court order through third-party contact in November 2023, VADOC said. The violation prompted VADOC Victim Services Unit to open an investigation that resulted in Bottoms and two other inmates receiving institutional infractions.

Bottoms then solicited another inmate to murder both the State Farm Correctional Center employee and the lead investigator from the Victim Services Unit in exchange for money, VADOC said.

“Harassing members of our correctional team will not be tolerated and our Department will seek prosecution of employee harassment to the fullest extent of the law,” said VADOC Director Chad Dotson. “Corrections employees face difficult situations every day and do so with professionalism and pride. They should not face harassment and retaliation from inmates at any point. I thank Powhatan County Commonwealth’s Attorney Rob Cerullo and his office for investigating this matter and holding this inmate accountable for such dangerous actions.”

Both corrections team members were physically unharmed, VADOC said.

A grand jury indicted Bottoms on June 5 on two counts of solicit felony murder and four counts of violation of a protective order.