Former Oklahoma County detention officer charged with felony over jail suicide




  • In US
  • 2022-05-18 11:01:54Z
  • By The Oklahoman
The Oklahoma County jail in Oklahoma City is shown on May 11.
The Oklahoma County jail in Oklahoma City is shown on May 11.  

A fired Oklahoma County detention officer was accused in a criminal charge Tuesday of falsifying log books after an inmate suicide to try to cover up his failure to do welfare checks.

Jesse Paul Kight, 28, of Yukon, was charged with one felony count of falsifying a record and one misdemeanor count of omission to perform a duty.

Kight was fired Dec. 27, one day after discovering inmate Gabriel Yalartai hanging from an air vent in a cell. He had worked at the jail less than six months.

"Our special investigation unit determined the detention officer failed to do his duty," the jail's administrator, Greg Williams, said Tuesday. "We are entrusted with the care and welfare of the detainees in our custody. When that trust is broken, we will work with law enforcement to hold people accountable."

Kight could not be reached Tuesday for comment.

More: Former sheriff's deputy in Oklahoma accused of sexually assaulting female inmate, arrested

What happened the night Gabriel Yalartai died?

Kight was supposed to check on every inmate on the 12th floor every 30 minutes during a 12-hour shift that began at 6 p.m. Christmas Day.

An investigator determined after reviewing surveillance recordings that Kight had failed to conduct any sight checks, according to a court affidavit.

Kight discovered the suicide at 4:21 a.m. Dec. 26 while serving breakfast to inmates, the investigator wrote in the affidavit.

"Officer Kight, after the discovery of inmate Yalartai, forged the log books by hand writing in the sight check entries which had not occurred," the investigator wrote.

"He admitted he was not present at his assigned post, and had instead went to jail receiving and other floors for several hours in lieu of performing his assigned duties," the investigator wrote. "Officer Kight was not directed by a supervisor to assist in receiving, and did not make arrangements to have another Detention Officer cover his sight checks when he abandoned his post."

Kight was charged in Oklahoma County District Court. The district attorney, David Prater, personally approved the charge.

Yalartai, 40, had been charged with first-degree robbery. He was supposed to be checked every 30 minutes because he was in a mental health unit.

He was described in the affidavit as an inmate with known declining mental health issues. He had been awaiting transportation for months to the state mental facility in Vinita for treatment, court records show.

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Former Oklahoma County detention officer charged over jail suicide

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