Man who smuggled items into Jackson County jail sentenced
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City man will serve time in federal prison after admitting that he helped smuggle contraband into the Jackson County jail.
Federal prosecutors say 36-year-old Marion Lorenzo Byers was sentenced Wednesday to two years and three months without parole for smuggling cell phones and other items into the jail.
Byers admitted the he conspired with others to get contraband to inmates between in May and June of 2016. Byers delivered the items to a co-conspirator, who gave them to a corrections officer at the jail.
A former jail guard, 30-year-old Jalee Caprice Fuller, of Independence, and two other people are awaiting sentencing in the scheme.
Another former guard, Andre Lamonte Dickerson, is awaiting sentencing in a separate but related case for taking a bribe to violate his duties.
The Jackson County Detention Center has long been under scrutiny for its handling of similar cases, overcrowding and being understaffed.
A jail in crisis: A timeline of incidents at the Jackson County Detention Center
- The jail’s reputation was severely tarnished in 2016 after a highly publicized incident in which several female prisoners were raped by male prisoners in August 2016.
The male prisoners were able to obtain keys to leave their cells and walk freely through the detention center; they made their way to the female ward and enter the women’s cells and sexually assault them.
The Jackson County Legislature approved a resolution to pay $275,000 to the claimant who accused the county of “negligent acts” after an investigation found that the inmates were able to get the keys after a guard had left the keys in a cell door.
- Another lawsuit, which was filed in May 2017, came from an inmate who said he was raped by another prisoner.
The victim said not only did the guard not help, but she actually gave cocaine to the inmate who attacked him.
- In June 2017, an Independence man filed a lawsuit against the detention center, claiming he suffered harm due to unsanitary conditions.
The man claims he was locked in a cell with human waste, raw sewage, feces and urine for nearly a month.
Symonds said his client’s pleas to have conditions corrected went unanswered, and though he offered to clean up the overflowing, malfunctioning toilet himself, he was offered no supplies to so except a mop and a bucket.
- The jail was then raided on June 26, which led to charges against four individuals, including two correctional officers.
Andrew Dickerson, 26, a correction officer, was accused of receiving $500 to smuggle two packs of cigarettes, a cell phone and a charger into the detention center. Dickerson then allegedly asked another informant if he’d be interested in paying him a monthly fee of $2,500 in exchange for being the only inmate on the fifth floor with contraband.
Jalee Fuller, 29, another correction officer, was accused of taking money bribes to smuggle contraband to inmates. Fuller allegedly made telephone calls and sent text messages to promote the conspiracy, and actually smuggled cell phones and other contraband to inmates at the detention center.
- On July 1, a prisoner died after reportedly being locked to a chair for an extended period of time.
The incident is still under investigation, but a source close to the investigation told FOX4 the inmate was left locked up on a chair and was forgotten about. The inmate was eventually taken to a hospital where he died.
No detention center staff members have been charged in that inmate’s death, but others have been accused of wrongdoing in other incidents.
- In August 2017, several staff members walked off the job, leaving the jail shorthanded.
Visitations were suspended, much to the dismay of friends and family who had expected a visit. Frustrated family members said they had taken off work or left work early to be admitted as visitors.
- In November 2017, a Jackson County Jail inmate allegedly brutally beat a jail guard.
According to court records, 20-year-old Johnny R. Dunlap was in Pod C of the Jackson County Detention Center the Wednesday before Thanksgiving when he assaulted an on-duty corrections officer.
The officer was taken to the hospital in critical condition after suffering several injuries, including fractured facial and nasal bones.
- In December 2017, Joe Piccinini, then corrections director for the county jail, turned in his resignation.
The next day Jackson County Executive Frank White announced a new leader: Deputy Director of Corrections Diana Turner now serves as acting director.
- In January 2018, a coordinated joint search was conducted at the Jackson County Detention Center.
About 30 personnel from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department and the JCDC’s Corrections Emergency Response Team were involved.
Former Jackson County Sheriff Mike Sharp said jail staff contacted the sheriff’s department after they received information about possible contraband in jail cells. Jail staff said they needed help to conducting a successful search on such a large scale.
Although Sharp would not comment on what they are looking for or what’s been found, he did say narcotic dogs were brought in to assist in the search.