BEAVER, WV (WVNS) — Two Southern Regional Jail correctional officers are facing criminal charges in connection to the death of an inmate.
Nicholas Wimmer and Andrew Fleshman are facing charges in an alleged conspiracy to assault Quantez Burks, 37, while he was detained at Southern Regional Jail, according to a criminal complaint.
The complaints allege the two officers and others “known and unknown” conspired to injure, oppress, intimidate and threaten Burks, who is identified in court documents as “Q.B.,” and to deprive Burks of his Constitutional right to due process of law.
Burks was a pre-trial detainee when West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation employees allegedly conspired to injure him. Burks died on March 1, 2022, after spending less than one day at the jail.
In the criminal complaint filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, officers alleged Burks “tried to push past a correctional officer and leave C-pod. Officers allegedly handcuffed Burks before a group of officers forced him from C-pod to an interview room, where they allegedly “struck and otherwise assaulted and injured” Burks allegedly as a “punishment.”
The complaints allege Fleshman, Wimmer and other officers then forced Burks to “A-pod,” where Wimmer struck and “otherwise assaulted” Burks.
Burks’ mother, Kimberly Burks, of Beckley, verified on Wednesday that officers with the Federal Bureau of Investigations had notified her of the charges.
The West Virginia Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Burks died of natural causes, but a Beckley funeral home director later photographed Burks’ injuries and provided Burks’ family with the photographs. A private autopsy found Burks was injured throughout his body and likely died of a cardiac event, brought on by the trauma.
Federal prosecutors have reportedly asked for a guilty plea hearing.