7 Henrico deputies charged with second-degree murder in man’s death

Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 3:12 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 15, 2023 at 6:31 AM EDT
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HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - Virginia State Police arrested seven Henrico County Sheriff’s Office deputies on Tuesday and charged them with second-degree murder for the death of a Henrico man at a Dinwiddie mental health hospital.

On March 6, Henrico County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived at Central State Hospital just before 4 p.m. to admit 28-year-old Irvo N. Otieno, of Henrico, as a patient. Before 7:30 p.m., state police were called to investigate Otieno’s death.

Henrico police told investigators that Otieno was combative with deputies during the intake process and had to be restrained. He died during the intake process.

No other details were given on the Henrico man’s death.

His body was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for examination and autopsy.

The following employees turned themselves in at the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Richmond Field Office on the morning of Tuesday, March 14:

  • Randy Joseph Boyer, 57, of Henrico
  • Dwayne Alan Bramble, 37, of Sandston
  • Jermaine Lavar Branch, 45, of Henrico
  • Bradley Thomas Disse, 43, of Henrico
  • Tabitha Renee Levere, 50, of Henrico
  • Brandon Edwards Rodgers, 48, of Henrico
  • Kaiyell Dajour Sanders, 30, of North Chesterfield

The Henrico County Sheriff’s office sent the following statement to NBC12 regarding Otiento’s death.

“As Henrico County Sheriff and on behalf of our entire office, I extend my deepest sympathies and condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Irvo Otieno. The events of March 6, at their core, represent a tragedy because Mr. Otieno’s life was lost. This loss is felt by not only those close to him but our entire community.

The seven deputies who were transferring custody of Mr. Otieno have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the Commonwealth’s cases.

As an office, we are cooperating fully with the investigation of the Virginia State Police. Separately, we are conducting our own independent review of this incident.

Public safety is what we stand for as a Sheriff’s Office. We will continue to maintain the highest professional standards in how we serve and protect those in our custody, the community at large and our staff.”

Alisa Gregory, Henrico County Sheriff

According to a statement from the commonwealth’s attorney for Dinwiddie County, the charges are defined as “criminal information” and are the legal equivalent of an arrest warrant from a circuit court.

“Use of criminal information to render an arrest is rare in Virginia, but necessary in this particular incident,” said Ann Cabell Baskervill, Dinwiddie County Commonwealth’s Attorney. “This legal tactic is for the purpose of protecting other Henrico County jail residents. It allows for a justified and immediate removal of these seven individuals from their current capacities.”

Henrico Police confirmed on Tuesday they did receive a call on Thursday, March 2 from a neighbor at the 8800 block of Fordson Road for a reported suspicious situation.

The complainant told officers he was concerned about his neighbor’s behavior.

The neighbor was later identified as Otieno. The call was reclassified as a mental health problem, after speaking with Otieno and a family member. No charges were placed as a result of the March 2 call for service.

Henrico Supervisor Frank Thornton addressed Otieno’s death at the start of Tuesday night’s board meeting.

“I want to offer my sincerest sympathies and heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Otieno,” Thornton said.

Thornton said the county is committed to transparency and will cooperate fully with the investigation.

“This tragedy highlights the challenges of our community, that our community members face while seeking mental health treatment,” Thornton said.

All seven sheriff’s office personnel were taken to Meherrin River Regional Jail in Brunswick County and held without bond.

The deputies are expected to appear at Dinwiddie County Circuit Court on Wednesday, March 15 for an appointed counsel hearing. They are expected to go before a grand jury on Tuesday, March 21.