Orange County Jail under federal investigation

Inmate violating home confinement, killing witness, sparks investigations

By Erik von Ancken - Anchor/Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - The office of Orange County Professional Standards along with the Orange County Corrections Department Internal Affairs division are both investigating how an accused violent felon could allegedly leave home confinement to shoot three witnesses, killing one.

Orange County's Professional Standards and Jail Internal Affairs are both looking into the jail after accused violent felon Bessman Okafor left home confinement while he was waiting to go on trial.

Detectives said Okafor's ankle bracelet alerted the corrections officers 109 times in 10 weeks that he may have violated his curfew, but corrections officers never notified Okafor's judge, so he was never ordered back to jail. Corrections officials tell Local 6 they believe many of those were routine alerts of short duration that go off when there is interference or technical issues with the device or the monitor.

Okafor killed Alex Zaldivar, who was supposed to testify against him in a home invasion case, according to detectives.

A corrections spokesman told Local 6 besides ordering the investigation, the jail chief turned to the National Institute of Corrections, a federal agency under the Justice Department, asking for a review of all corrections programs, home confinement included.

In a statement to Local 6, jail spokesman Allen Moore writes: "Prior to the start of the internal investigation, the home confinement unit consisted of 13 employees. Recently, seven home confinement employees were reassigned to other units but have been replaced by other employees. As of the today, (2-22-2013), there are 12 employees assigned the unit. The arrival of one additional employee on March 4 one will bring the unit total back to 13."

The institute will give suggestions, but no penalty or punishment. The jail has "reassigned" seven home confinement workers.

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