UPDATE: Corrections officers arraigned in murder plot case - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Corrections officers arraigned in murder plot case

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Four men who are paid to guard criminals could end up behind bars.  They're accused of planning a hit on an inmate, 19 year old Zachary Lawson.  Ben Browning, Jeffrey Winkler, and John Bruhin are charged with attempted murder.  Steven Adkins is charged as an accessory.  Joe DeLong, Executive Director of West Virginia Regional Jail Authority, says the incident is a black eye for all of the people who show up everyday and do the right thing because they become guilty by association.

Lawson is serving time as a sex offender.  These offenders are often the target of violence in jails.  To protect inmate, jails have an inmate classification system.  The regional system also has new plans for jails in the state.  DeLong says they are currently installing installing cameras in every section in every hallway. The only places without cameras will be in the privacy areas, bathroom facilities, and individual cells.  This camera project comes with a $7 million price tag.  Installation should be finished by 2015.

A new method of scheduling and a new hiring plan will add another 150 corrections officers.  Requirements for the job: a high school diploma and one year of any type of work experience.  You must also pass a drug test, background check, and psychological evaluation.  DeLong says, "this field isn't for everyone. These are difficult jobs. You deal with difficult people everyday that will try your patience. It takes a special person to work in these environments".  DeLong says it's very rare for jail guards to be arrested.  He believes most corrections officers are dedicated employees.

Bail was set at $10,000 for Adkins, Browning, and Winkler.  They are scheduled to be back in court on June 4th at 11 am.


Three corrections officers accused in an attempted murder plot were each given a $10,000 bond in court today.


WV State Regional Jail Authority  Director, Joe DeLong, confirms that four correctional officers and four inmates were charged after they plotted to kill another inmate. DeLong, who is currently Boston attending the marathon, says the information surrounding the investigation came out Friday when the indictment was unsealed in Cabell County, WV. 

DeLong adds the correctional officers involved in the incident which occurred in October 2013 are no longer with the West Virginia Regional Jail Authority. 

Steven D. Adkins of Milton, WV is one of the correctional officers charged. He has been charged with accessory before the fact of first degree murder.  Benjamin Browning of Kermit, WV; John Bruhin of Huntington, WV; and Jeffrey Winkler of Chesapeake, OH have been charged with aiding and abetting as well as attempted murder.

The inmates charged in the indictment include; Steven Lee Adkins, Jr., James Galloway, James Kenney and Jared Harris. They are all charged with attempted murder and conspiracy.

All four correctional officers and inmates will be arraigned on the new charges listed in the indictment on a future date.  

Zachary Lawson, 19, was the target of the plot but the indictment did not reveal why he was charged or what happened to him. Lawson is currently serving time on sex-related charges. The indictment doesn't give details on why Lawson was targeted or what exactly happened to him.