Prison Guards in Federal Court

By: Valerie Lacy
By: Valerie Lacy

The indictments against the six guards actually came down Tuesday in federal court in Tallahassee. The five remaining defendants all sat solemnly in court. They were still wearing their prison guard uniforms. All five pleaded not guilty to the charges ranging from sex with inmates to racketeering.

Prosecutors filed out of the courtroom, shocked. Though all knew this was a heavy case, not one could have predicted the deadly firepower at the prison just before first appearance in court.

The yearlong investigation looked into six prison guards, Alfred Barnes, Gregory Dixon, Ralph Hill, Vincent Johnson, Alan Moore and E. Lavon Spence.

The grand jury found enough evidence to indict the guards for charges including engaging in a conspiracy to commit acts of bribery, witness tampering, mail fraud and interstate transportation in aid of racketeering.

Michael Folmar, FBI spokesperson, said, "More specifically, what this involved is the defendants using their official positions to obtain money from inmates in exchange for introducing contraband into the prison."

In the indictment the prosecutor lists several charges of sex between Hill, Barnes, Spence, Dixon and Moore, and some 15 inmates at the female prison facility.

And then there's the money; prosecutors have evidence against Ralph Hill for using his debit card to purchase $50, $100, and $500 money orders given to inmates.

Tim Jansen, former attorney for Ralph Hill, said, "The initial allegation that we understood was that there was improper sex contact, possibly some contraband being brought in. This is not unfamiliar with the federal prison with women and male guards."

Jansen was handling the criminal case for Ralph Hill before Hill died in Wednesday morning's gun battle. The bottom line here is prosecutors allege five of these defendants were using their positions of power over the inmates either for sex, money, or favors.

First appearance Wednesday morning was continued to Thursday because one of the witnesses is in the hospital. One FBI agent in the courtroom was unable to testify himself because of the shooting Wednesday morning.


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