Virginia Judge Agrees To Drop Charges Against Five Deputies In High-Profile Murder Case

County Commonwealth Attorney's Office/Handout via REUTERS

Mariane Angela Entertainment And News Reporter
Font Size:

A Virginia judge approved motions on Sunday to dismiss the charges against the deputies involved in the death of Irvo Otieno, NBC News reported.

The decision to dismiss murder charges against five sheriff’s deputies involved in the death of Otieno, a 28-year-old Virginia man who died during his admission to a psychiatric hospital, has sparked outrage and calls for justice from his family. At a news conference, Caroline Ouko, Otieno’s mother, expressed herf disbelief on Monday, urging the Justice Department to intervene, according to NBC News.

The incident occurred March 6, 2023, when he was pinned to the floor by sheriff’s deputies and medical staff members for over 10 minutes at Central State psychiatric facility in Dinwiddie County. Otieno’s death was ruled a homicide by asphyxiation, which initially led to second-degree murder charges against ten individuals, including seven deputies and three hospital workers. Since then, charges against two hospital employees were dropped, and currently, only two deputies and one hospital worker remain charged, NBC News reported. (RELATED: Virginia Lawyer In High Profile Murder Case Has No Prosecuting Experience)

Dinwiddie County Commonwealth Attorney Amanda Mann cited strategic concerns related to trial dates set by her predecessor as the reason for filing the motion to withdraw the charges Friday against the deputies involved in Otieno’s death.

“The motions speak for themselves; therefore, this Office has no further information to provide in the cases,” Mann said in a statement, NBC News reported.

Ouko said they disagreed with Mann’s decision to dismiss charges related to her son’s death. She also criticized the dismissal of the charges.

“We did not endorse her plan,” Ouko said, NBC News stated. “It is time. It is time for you to bring your boots to Richmond and stand for Irvo. And get justice for my son.”

Virginia sheriff deputies wrestle with Irvo Otieno, a 28-year-old Black man, at a state mental hospital before he died, in a still image from video surveillance at Central State Hospital in Petersburg, Virginia, U.S. March 6, 2023. Dinwiddie County Commonwealth Attorney's Office/Handout via REUTERS

Virginia sheriff deputies wrestle with Irvo Otieno, a 28-year-old Black man, at a state mental hospital before he died, in a still image. Dinwiddie County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office/Handout via REUTERS

A Justice Department representative acknowledged that they had received requests to investigate Otieno’s death.

“We are closely monitoring the state criminal case regarding this matter, and we have no further comment at this time,” the spokesperson said, NBC News added.

Otieno’s family has reached a settlement of $8.5 million with the state and involved county and sheriff’s departments, who have denied liability and causation of Otieno’s death, according to NBC News. Despite the settlement, Otieno’s mother and their attorney, Benjamin Crump, continue to push for accountability and systemic change. They emphasize the urgent need for reforms in the handling of mental health crises and in the practices surrounding law enforcement’s use of force.