- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 3, 2009

State prosecutors are unlikely to charge anyone with murder in the strangling death of an inmate accused of killing a county police officer, Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Glenn F. Ivey said Monday.

New evidence has not turned up since a grand jury declined in December to file charges in the death of Ronnie White, Mr. Ivey said.

“We don’t have any new evidence to change that,” Mr. Ivey said. “Unless we get any new evidence, I don’t foresee state murder charges being brought.”

Mr. White was found dead in his jail cell June 29, days after he was arrested in the hit-and-run death of Cpl. Richard Findley. The state medical examiner has ruled that the 19-year-old was strangled and declared the death a homicide. Two corrections officers were identified as “people of interest” last year and were placed on paid leave, but authorities have never named a suspect.

Mr. Ivey said the Justice Department is reviewing the case and could use “an array of laws” such as the Civil Rights Act should it pursue charges. The state has not ruled out bringing other charges if new evidence is found, but no move will be made until federal authorities reach their conclusions, he added.

“We’re open to any new information that we get and willing to review anything that’s available,” Mr. Ivey said. “I think we should see what [Justice Department] decides, then we’ll go from there.”

There is no grand jury review of the case at this time.

Alejandro Miyar, a spokesman for the Justice Department, said the department’s Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Maryland and the FBI “will review this matter to determine whether federal civil rights charges are warranted.”

An FBI spokesman said he could not comment.

Bobby Henry, a Largo-based attorney for Mr. White’s family, said state prosecutors were never inclined to charge anyone in this case, including guards who had access to Mr. White at the county jail.

“We believe it’s a travesty of justice when the life of a young man can be snatched away at the hand of wayward correctional facility officers,” Mr. Henry said. Family members “believe that the Department of Justice will step in and will correctly investigate this case.”

Vernon Herron, the county’s director of public safety, said one of the corrections officers who was put on leave has since resigned.

Mr. Herron said the county began an investigation a week ago to determine whether the second officer, who remains on paid leave, violated protocol when he found Mr. White in the cell.

The officer may have “disturbed the scene,” said Mr. Herron, who expects the investigation to be complete in the next several weeks.

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