[UPDATE] FDLE Charges Three Wakulla Corrections Officers

By: Eyewitness News Email
By: Eyewitness News Email

(UPDATE) 7-7-11 by Amy Long

Three Wakulla Correctional Institute employees find themselves on the wrong side of the law for mistreating inmates. One of the men even wounded himself to keep the story straight.

Captain Megan Dillard, Major Joseph Garrison, and Corrections Officer Andrew Gazapian face criminal charges for creating false disciplinary reports on 13 inmates and beating another.
Mug Shots are not available because of their positions.

Keith Kameg with FDLE says, "These disciplinary reports took privileges away from the individuals. Those reports, according to our investigators, were false."

Florida Department of Law Enforcement started their investigation back on March 24th.2011

FDLE Investigators say the false reports led some of the inmates to be placed in confinement dormitory.

During the transfer, Gazapian allegedly battered an inmate. Forcing him to the ground and using a chemical spray on him. The guard then filed a report that said it was the inmate who started the scuffle.

Gazapian went as far as to bite himself to make his story believable. "There was testing done and it was found the the inmate, in fact, did not do the biting." said Kameg.

Gretl Plessinger, spokeswoman with the Department of Corrections, "Secretary Buss immediately reviewed everything and he won't tolerate this kind of behavior that they've been accused of so, he terminated them."

FDLE says all of the inmates involved in the incident have been removed from the institution.

[UPDATE] 7-7-2011

Secretary Edwin Buss' Statement

"I'd like to personally thank the Wakulla Correctional employees who
brought this matter to the attention of the Department of Corrections
Inspector General's Office. Those officers refused to allow bad
behavior. They have the courage and integrity worthy of the corrections profession. As for the officers arrested today, I have no tolerance for the kind of behavior they are accused of."


[UPDATE] 7-7 1:15pm - Crawfordville, Florida -

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Office of Executive Investigations and the Department of Corrections yesterday charged three Wakulla Correctional Institution employees after an investigation revealed criminal actions against inmates of the institution. FDLE began investigating on March 24 after receiving information from the Florida Department of Corrections’ Office of Inspector General.

According to investigators, an unidentified inmate made a disparaging remark about Captain Megan Dillard which resulted in Dillard allegedly falsifying 13 disciplinary reports against 13 different inmates. The false disciplinary reports resulted in a loss of privileges and a transfer to a confinement dormitory.

While the inmates were being transferred to the dormitory, Corrections Officer Andrew Gazapian allegedly battered one of the inmates by forcing him to the ground and then using a chemical spray on him. Gazapian then falsified a report to say the inmate was being combative and had bitten him on the left arm. Investigation later revealed that the inmate was not being combative and that Gazapian had bitten himself and blamed the injury on the inmate.

After this inmate was transferred to the confinement cell, he was again sprayed three times with a chemical agent for allegedly causing a disturbance in his cell. The investigation revealed there was no disturbance and reports of the inmate’s actions had been falsified at the direction of Maj. Joseph. Garrison.

Garrison, 39, of Crawfordville, was charged with one count of official misconduct; Dillard, 31, of Tallahassee was charged with 13 counts of official misconduct, and Gazapian, 23, of Tallahassee will be charged with one count of official misconduct, one count of fabricating physical evidence, and one count of battery.

Garrison and Dillard were arrested and processed at the Wakulla County Jail. Gazapian was located by FDLE out of state and was ordered to turn himself in when he returns to Florida next week.

All of the inmates involved in this incident have been moved out of the Wakulla Correctional Institution.

The Office of State Attorney Willie N. Meggs, 2nd Judicial Circuit, will prosecute this case.


[UPDATE] Wakulla County, Florida - May 4, 2011 - Noon -

Four Wakulla County correctional officers are on administrative leave pending Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation.

Two of the four being investigated are the institution's warden and assistant warden.

According to documents released by the Florida Department of Corrections, Warden Jeremy Vaughn, Assistant Warden Clarence Chason, Colonel Phillip Johnson and Major Joseph Garrison all received letters on May 3rd notifying them of their paid administrative leave.

Eyewitness News has contacted WCI and FDLE, but at this point, neither will say what the investigation is about.

An FDLE spokesperson says they will try to release some details today, but do not want to jeopardize their investigation.

Coming up tonight on Eyewitness News, we'll bring you the very latest details we learn into this investigation.

Wakulla County, Florida - May 4, 2011 -

Clarence Chason, Assistant Warden, Jeremy Vaghan, Warden, Colonel Phillip Johnson, and Major Joseph Garrison from the Wakulla County Correctional Institution were placed on administrative leave on May 3. The four were issued letters from Edwin Buss, secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections, advising them that they were being placed on administrative leave pending an investigation of charges which could result in dismissal.

The leave was effective May 3.

WCTV will have more on the story, stay with us for details.

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  • by Sunshine on Aug 9, 2011 at 01:47 PM
    I know someone personally where the guard (Wakulla Corrections)intentionally let an inmate in the medical facility to try and victimize an inmate. It was all on tape. The Warden did not do anything. It's a shame that the people expect to uphold the law and rules are breaking them, and have a non caring attitude about others. Like they say "what goes around, comes around."
  • by Anonymous on Jul 28, 2011 at 05:33 AM
    Change jobs? That would make sense
  • by Donna Location: Ex-Correctional Officer on Jul 23, 2011 at 10:09 AM
    I've read comments about people being racist in FDOC, but this is everywhere you work and from both sides, that's an individual issue. This Wakulla situation is a mess and I feel so sorry for the warden and assistance warden. Reason being is because of Broward CI, warden, Jennifer Folsum, sending her problem, Capt. Meagan Dillard to that institution. She left Broward with 17 counts of misconduct charges agains her in Jan-Feb of 2010 and did not learn a thing. I guess if your parents(both) once worked for the department it's ok to always expect them to get you out of trouble. I personal had problems with this Capt and used my chain to take care of it. By the grace of God, he protected me from this very empty conscious woman. How do a secretary alledgedly with military background, hard to believe move into her position. No intregrity, problem does not know what the word means. No regards for inmates welfare and could care less about her fellow officers. I hope justice is truly done and she never works for a state or county agency again. Don't really bother me or care who knows I posted this not bitter, but sadden that this happened. Capt. Dillard should had been a ex-correctional officer years ago. She ruined so many decent peoples careers by falsifying douments its patheic. I blame Broward CI administration, nuff said.
  • by arma gg Location: Florida on Jul 15, 2011 at 12:07 AM
    To the ones calling Garrison a racist I laugh at your ignorance, why not do your research before trying to play the race card. Garrisons family is like a melting pot of a family and he adores respects and loves them all! The Caucasian family he has, the African American family he has, the bi-racial nephews he has, the Latina family members, the Jewish family members, his French mother, may she R.I.P. and Fyi the same accuser of racism called Garrison a "redneck " that sir or ma'am is an offensive racist term!
  • by Noname' on Jul 9, 2011 at 06:31 PM
    This is truly a pathetic situation. You can't trust the criminal justise system anymore. And this Gazapian person should be charged with aggravated assault instead of battery. I wonder if Meggs will drop the charges against them all. That's what he normally does when charges are brought against someone in the criminal justice system. But, he is running for SA again so he may make an example out of them. Did these officers think they wouldn't get caught, or that investigators wouldn't believe inmates over them? Do people still believe that those protecting the citizens can do no wrong?
  • by Anonymous on Jul 8, 2011 at 07:08 PM
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jul 10, 2011 at 05:20 AM in reply to
      You sound like a disgrutled employee of the institution who seems to think race is a factor in your schedule. GET OVER IT! I've had it passed my eyeballs with people in this department playing the race card.
      • reply
        by Truth hurts on Jul 10, 2011 at 09:22 AM in reply to
        Show up at work like you should and maybe you can get good days off too!
    • reply
      by arma gg on Jul 15, 2011 at 12:09 AM in reply to
      You truly don't know him!!!!
  • by Steve Location: Marietta, Georgia on Jul 8, 2011 at 05:55 PM
    Looks like a clear case of thugs with badges! Just move these hoods to the other side, of those bars! Word!
  • by Karma Location: C'ville on Jul 8, 2011 at 03:00 PM
    Hey FDLE....since you're already down here in Wakulla, why don't ya mosey on over to the Sheriff's Office......plenty of illegal S**t there to keep ya busy...you think THIS case had falsified documents...you should see here.
  • by Anonymous on Jul 8, 2011 at 11:41 AM
    Men/women who work as prison guards do so to exercise authority over those they feel are beneath them on the social ladder. It's called "power intoxication"! When you give authority to punks, what else can you expect, surely you don't expect them to behave honorably?
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jul 10, 2011 at 05:23 AM in reply to
      Um....not all of us take this job to do that. We're more interested in looking out for the safety of inmates and the public, which includes people like YOU who are snot-nosed, unappreciative snobs who look down from your pedistal in your safe little ivory tower and allow the actions of a few to dictate your opinions of all. Get over it! We're the reason why you feel so safe in your little ivory tower. :)
  • by Enough on Jul 8, 2011 at 11:29 AM
    Well its about time! More cover will be pulled back from Wakulla and other Correctional Inst. Many officers are on POWER TRIPS. Not all officer are bad individuals but if you run with wolfs you will learn how to howl....many ,many, many, are howling and getting brought down. What goes around comes right back around 7 fold.....Good for them, now catch the rest of them
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