Two former Warren County correctional officers have appeared in Circuit Court following an inmate’s suicide at Warren County Jail while being under the surveillance of the two jailers.
Zech Jacob Clark, 22, and Steven Thomas Mason, 28, will appear in front of Judge Bart Stanley April 22.
The two men were each indicted on one count of destruction of and tampering with governmental records following the hanging death of an inmate in January 2019.
“My client has never had any charges anywhere,” says Clark’s attorney, Larry Ross. “These guys are charged with a B misdemeanor of putting a false entry on a logbook without any previous criminal history so they certainly qualify for pre-trial diversion.”
Ross is filing for a pre-trial diversion for Clark. Mason’s attorney, Billy Tollison, filed a motion on Feb. 11 to continue the plea date in order to apply for the same diversion for his client. Both Clark and Mason have no previous criminal history.
A pre-trial diversion means the charges will be put on hold while the men complete a court-ordered program. If there is no further legal trouble and the program is completed successfully, the charges are dismissed.
On Sept. 6, 2019, the Warren County grand jury returned indictments against Clark and Mason. Ten days later, the two men were arrested and booked at Warren County Jail on $1,000 bonds.
The indictments came after a 33-year-old inmate at the jail was found dead in his cell from an apparent hanging. He had only been in jail for seven days. He had previously been incarcerated for minor offenses.
In a story published in the Southern Standard on Jan. 16, 2019, Sherriff Tommy Myers said the inmate had given no indication he was a threat to harm himself.
A media release states 31st District Attorney General Lisa Zavogiannis requested TBI agents to join the DA’s office in investigating the inmate’s death, which occurred Jan. 14.
The TBI discovered the correctional officers didn’t conduct the required jail walk-thru and jail logs were altered at some point to reflect the walk-thru had been completed.
Neither of the men are still employed at the jail.