The Morgan County Grand Jury has returned eight indictments against inmate Robert Fusco and several co-defendants. The indictments stem from lengthy investigation into an attempt by Fusco to introduce contraband into the Morgan County Correctional Complex.
During the course of the investigation the Tennessee Department of Correction, in conjunction with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, collected evidence that Fusco – who was a minimum security inmate - breached the secure perimeter of the facility. This is a highly unusual case because the inmate was not trying to flee custody but was in fact attempting to introduce contraband into the facility. Today’s grand jury returned indictments against Fusco for the following:
· Escape (felony)
· Conspiracy to escape (felony)
· Unlawful telecommunication device in penal facility
Throughout this breach of institutional security, Fusco was aided by the several people. Additional indictments include:
· William Richmond, 68, charged with conspiracy to escape; facilitation of escape and permit/facilitate escape;
· Megan Cheryl Jones, 29, charged with conspiracy to escape; facilitation of escape; tampering with evidence; sexual contact with inmate; facilitation of contraband in a penal facility;
· Jarrett Tolley aka Alyssa Tolley, 30, charged with conspiracy to escape; facilitation of escape; permit/facilitate to escape; escape implements;
· Cecil Kendall, 35, charged with conspiracy to escape; facilitation of escape; permit/facilitate to escape;
· Elizabeth Ashley England, 30, charged with conspiracy to escape; facilitation of escape; permit/facilitate to escape
· Ethan Self, 26, charged with conspiracy to escape; facilitation of escape; permit/facilitate to escape
· Josh Sexton, 34, charged with conspiracy to escape; facilitation of escape; permit/facilitate to escape; official misconduct.
When this breach was initially uncovered Commissioner Tony Parker said, “While I appreciate the staff for their diligence in uncovering this situation, it is obvious that security protocols were violated.” On Tuesday he said, “This investigation and subsequent indictments should serve as a reminder that the department will not tolerate any threat to the safety and security of our facilities. We have been, and will continue to be, relentless in the prosecution of those that violate their oath and violate the law. Any person threatening this department’s mission will be held accountable be it staff, inmate or community member.”
Immediately following the incident inmate Fusco was classified as a maximum custody inmate and reassigned to West Tennessee State Penitentiary.
Again, the department must point out that this breach highlights the threat that contraband and those looking to introduce contraband pose to correctional facilities. This threat is not limited to TDOC facilities, but negatively affects prisons throughout the country. TDOC is actively working with law enforcement partners at all levels to not only detect contraband but prevent contraband from entering prisons.
In addition to this multi-agency partnership, Commissioner Tony Parker continues to meet with officials from the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D.C. to discuss ways to continue to combat contraband.