Four indicted in riot at juvenile center

November 3

A Culpeper grand jury returned 44 indictments Monday against four inmates at Culpeper Juvenile Correctional Center in southern Culpeper County, the charges stemming from an apparent prison riot last month.

Terrence Henderson, 18, Kevon Johnson, 18, Wilbert Smith, 20, and Rajit Nash, 18, each face 11 charges including malicious wounding by a mob, gang participation and felony destruction of property.

Each defendant faces up to 120 years in prison, according to Commonwealth’s Attorney Gary Close, who said the men took over a pod at the correctional center in Mitchells during a five-hour melee Oct. 18.

Close said furniture was broken and used as weapons to break glass and other property. One guard suffered a broken finger and another was kicked in the face.

During a two-hour session Monday, the grand jury heard testimony from Virginia State Police Special Agent Mark Quince.

The four inmates will appear in Circuit Court Nov. 10 at 9 a.m., at which time they will be appointed attorneys and a date set for arraignment. A formal reading of the charges also will take place, and the defendants will enter their pleas.

No trial date has been set.

David Barredo, Culpeper County’s gang prosecutor, is assigned to the case.

The unusual move to directly indict the four during a special second session of the grand jury is part of a larger strategy implemented by the Culpeper County Board of Supervisors in 2007 when they hired Barredo as the county gang prosecutor, Close explained.

“The board drew a line in the sand with the creation of the gang prosecutor,” he said. “In Culpeper County, gangs are not welcome — behind bars or not.”

The regular grand jury met Oct. 19 while the pod takeover was still under investigation. Rather than wait two months for the next grand jury, Close chose to recall the October grand jury.

The maximum security Culpeper Juvenile Correctional Center holds males ages 18 through 21 sentenced in Circuit Court. It takes inmates from across the commonwealth and has a budgeted capacity of 144.

Close said the suspects are not from Culpeper and were juveniles when sentenced to Coffeewood; he did not elaborate on the nature of their crimes.

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