Grand jury indicts 10 people charged in Otieno’s death

Seven sheriff’s deputies and three Central State Hospital employees face second-degree murder charges in the case.
Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 12:44 PM EDT
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DINWIDDIE, Va. (WWBT) - A grand jury on Tuesday indicted the 10 people charged with Irvo Otieno’s death on March 6.

Seven Henrico County sheriff’s deputies and three Central State Hospital employees face second-degree murder charges.

The deputies facing a second-degree murder charge are:

  • Randy Joseph Boyer
  • Dwayne Alan Bramble
  • Jermaine Lavar Branch
  • Bradley Thomas Disse
  • Tabitha Renee Levere
  • Brandon Edwards Rodgers
  • Kaiyell Dajour Sanders

Three Central State Hospital employees facing charges are:

  • Darian M. Blackwell
  • Wavie L. Jones
  • Sadarius D. Williams

The indictments came on the same day that video of Otieno’s death at the hospital was released through public court filings inside the Dinwiddie County Courthouse.

Just after 9 a.m., the grand jury was brought inside the courtroom and given instructions by the judge. After this, the grand jury was escorted to another room to hear evidence from prosecutors about the case. At this time, it’s still unclear what evidence was presented to the grand jury, including the surveillance footage from Central State Hospital capturing Irvo Otieno’s final moments.

“The duty of a grand jury is to hear whatever evidence the prosecution submits to them and then determine whether there is probable cause to charge the crime that’s alleged in the indictment,” said NBC12 Legal Analyst Steve Benjamin.

Nearly two hours after the grand jury was given their instructions, they came back and handed down all the true bills for the 10 suspects in this case.

Moving forward, Benjamin said future court dates will be set.

“Ultimately, the cases will be set for trial if not resolved before trial, but will follow is an arraignment in initial appearance on the indictments,” said Benjamin.

In addition, Benjamin also discussed the questions that will be surrounding each case.

“The question is going to be whether that person did anything in this case to cause the death of this young man or if they did anything that encouraged or permitted or failed to prevent the death,” said Benjamin.

Three suspects in this case also had bond hearings scheduled inside Dinwiddie Circuit Court.

Brandon Rodgers, a Henrico deputy, and Wavie Jones, a Central State Hospital employee, had a $15,000 secured bond set. Randy Boyer, a Henrico deputy, had his bond set at $10,000.

Outside the Dinwiddie County Courthouse, Caleb Kershner, an attorney representing Randy Boyer, talked about his client’s placement when Otieno was restrained and said he was mainly at Otieno’s legs.

“They’re trying to tie my client in since he has nothing to do with the allegations in terms of the smothering, saying this was a concert of action,” said Kershner outside the courthouse.

Inside the courtroom, Kershner told the judge that Boyer was involved in the transport process of Otieno and was “constraining” Otieno’s legs until medical staff arrived.

“At no time did he have any contact with his upper body and had no idea that there was anything going on in the upper body, so to suggest that he in any way acted in concert, quite frankly, is a stretch of the imagination,” said Kershner outside the courthouse.

In addition, Kershner said Boyer has been cooperative and “has no desire to run but set the record straight.”

Boyer’s next court date was set for April 26 at 9 a.m.

During Brandon Rodgers’ bond hearing, his defense attorney told the judge Rodgers was about to leave work and was asked to help. In addition, Rodgers’ defense attorney also stated he was up towards Otieno’s head and was trying to get him on his side.

In response, Dinwiddie Commonwealth’s Attorney Ann Baskervill said Rodgers was following the transport vehicle. Initially, Baskervill said in court Rodgers was mostly around Otieno’s head and upper body.

Rodgers’ next court date is set for May 3 at 9 a.m.

Wavie Jones, who appeared in court through video, also had a bond hearing after his motions to suppress the release of the videos were heard in court.

Jones’s defense attorney told the judge Jones worked security at Central State Hospital and was told to “assist and restrain under the authority of others.” In addition, his attorney said Jones “had no effort to inflict pain” when Otieno was being restrained and stayed in the room because of his concerns with Otieno’s well being.

Baskervill also said two hours before the incident involving Irvo Otieno, Jones gave his two-week notice for his job at Central State Hospital. In addition, Baskervill said Jones was “in the upper body and has his hands on his head” while restraining Otieno.

Jones’ next court date is set for May 3 at 9 a.m.

Two Henrico deputies previously released on bond also appeared in court.

Jermaine Branch appeared in front of the judge and was given his next court date on May 10. Bradley Disse also had his next court date given to him on April 26.

Sadarius Williams also appeared in court and is scheduled for a bond hearing on March 22.