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Grand jury indicts 10 people in Otieno murder case

Multiple people wearing formal clothing stand in front of a group of microphones. One of them holds a photo of a person
Whittney Evans
VPM News
The family of Irvo Otieno said he was "treated like a dog" after they watched surveillance video that shows Otieno's death.

A video of Otieno’s death was released Monday night.

This story was updated at 2:33 p.m. Tuesday following the indictments.

A Dinwiddie grand jury indicted 10 people Tuesday afternoon in the death of a man last week at Central State Hospital while in police custody.

Seven Henrico County sheriff’s deputies and three hospital employees were charged with second-degree murder following the death of 28-year-old Irvo Otieno. Three of the people charged were granted bail Tuesday.

The Washington Post released a video late Monday night showing deputies and hospital employees piling onto Otieno before he died.

The news outlet edited the 27-minute video to nine minutes.

Dinwiddie County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ann Cabell Baskervill, who has alleged Otieno died of asphyxiation, moved quickly to charge the seven deputies using a process called “criminal information,” which doesn’t require a warrant or indictment. But according to state law, the case still needed to go before a grand jury before going to trial. The grand jury determined there was enough evidence to move forward with criminal charges.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin on Monday called for calm as the judicial process moves forward. The governor also suggested the incident shows the need for investment in the behavioral health system, a perspective he repeated Tuesday.

“After watching the video online, my heart grieves for Mr. Otieno and his family at their loss. This is a gut-wrenching reminder that significant changes are needed in our behavioral health system,” Youngkin said in an emailed statement. “As the full investigation continues and we let the judicial process run its course, it is clear that we must press forward with my proposed aggressive transformation of our behavioral health system."

On Monday, attorneys for two of the defendants asked the court to block the release of the video, saying it could influence potential jurors and deprive their clients of a fair trial. The court agreed on Tuesday to seal new discovery findings moving forward.

Whittney Evans is VPM News’ features editor.
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