Miami-Dade County

3 South Florida Corrections Officers Facing Murder Charges in Inmate's Death

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle and officials with the Florida Department of Corrections and Florida Department of Law Enforcement have scheduled a Friday afternoon news conference to announce the charges

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Three South Florida corrections officers are facing murder charges in connection with an inmate's death in February, authorities said.

The three officers - identified as Ronald Connor, 24, Christopher Rolon, 29, and Kirk Walton, 34 - face charges including second-degree murder, conspiracy, aggravated battery of an elderly adult and cruel treatment of a detainee, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Sources told NBC 6 a fourth corrections officer was expected to turn himself in to face charges in the case, and FDLE officials said the officer remains "at large."

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle and officials with the Florida Department of Corrections and Florida Department of Law Enforcement have scheduled a Friday afternoon news conference to announce the charges.

“In the past two and a half months, FDLE agents and analysts have worked more than 1,700 hours on this investigation, conducting more than 45 interviews and writing 77 investigative reports so far," FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen said in a statement. "I am proud of the work our members have done on this case and our partnership with State Attorney Rundle to ensure justice on behalf of the victim and his family."

The charges stem from the Feb. 14 death of 60-year-old Ronald Gene Ingram, who died during a transfer from Dade Correctional Institution, the Miami Herald reported.

Ronald Gene Ingram
Ronald Gene Ingram

Department of Corrections records show Ingram had been sentenced to life in prison on a first-degree murder charge in 1986 out of Hillsborough County.

A Department of Corrections statement, released five days after Ingram's death, said 10 officers were placed on administrative leave while the death was being investigated.

One officer had also resigned, according to the statement.

Ingram was allegedly beat to death by the officers out of the view of surveillance cameras, a source told the Herald.

FDLE officials said before Ingram had been removed from his cell in the mental health unit, he reportedly threw urine on an officer.

Ingram was placed in handcuffs and that's when the officers began to beat him, officials said.

Officials said Ingram was beaten so badly he had to be carried to the transport van that was set to take him to Lake Correctional Institution, in central Florida.

Ingram was placed in a secure compartment in the van by himself, but when the van made a stop in Ocala, he was found deceased laying on a bench in the van, officials said.

Ronald Connor, Christopher Rolon, Kirk Walton
Ronald Connor, Christopher Rolon, Kirk Walton

A medical examiner determined Ingram's death was caused by a punctured lung that led to internal bleeding, officials said. He also had injuries to his face and torso consistent with a beating.

“What happened in this case is completely unacceptable and is not a representation of our system, or of Dade Correctional Institution as a whole," Department of Corrections Secretary Ricky Dixon said in a statement. "The staff involved in this case failed, and as an agency we will not stand for this. FDC is committed to providing a safe and professional environment for inmates and offenders. All inmates, regardless of their crimes have a right to serve their time free from victimization and abuse."

Connor, Rolon and Walton were all being held without bond Thursday, Miami-Dade jail records showed. Attorney information wasn't available.

“Staff misconduct, abuse or criminal behavior have no place in Florida’s correctional system," Fernandez Rundle said in a statement. "Individuals who are sentenced to incarceration by our criminal courts have lost their freedom but not their basic rights. Inmates should not be subject to forms of ‘back alley’ justice which are actions in violation of Florida law."

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