Crime

‘The guy that passed away, they connected it all now.’ Man charged after inmate’s death

A dedication and tour was held at State Correctional Institution at Benner Township (SCI Benner) Monday, April 1, 2013.  The prison cost nearly $200 million to construct and is 46 acres inside the perimeter’s fence.
A dedication and tour was held at State Correctional Institution at Benner Township (SCI Benner) Monday, April 1, 2013. The prison cost nearly $200 million to construct and is 46 acres inside the perimeter’s fence. Centre Daily Times, file

A Benner state prison inmate died in March after swallowing three balloons filled with synthetic marijuana, according to state police at Rockview, and now a fellow inmate has been charged.

Khasion Garland, 28, was found unresponsive during count time and was transported to Mount Nittany Medical Center, where staff worked on him for nearly 50 minutes before he was pronounced dead.

Garland and Jahbree Payne, 32, had been suspected by police of bringing synthetic marijuana into the prison, which prompted a review of three phone calls to a woman believed to be responsible for bringing the drugs into the prison.

On the first call, Payne and the woman allegedly talk about Garland being at the hospital and the woman said, “This is the second time this has happened.”

On the second call, she allegedly said, “I’m the brain and you’re the distributor.”

The third call came from an unknown inmate, but the woman told him, “It’s a business, not a good one.”

Centre County Coroner Scott Sayers completed his report for Garland’s death in April and ruled the manner of death as accidental and the cause of death as a drug overdose.

“Three foreign bodies were found in the small bowel consistent with the transport of an illicit drugs,” Sayers wrote.

A state police at Rockview trooper also reviewed emails sent and received by Payne between March and April. Payne allegedly sent the woman an email and told her to keep the money for herself and package as much as possible for the next time she visited.

Payne said he received 14 balloons filled with synthetic marijuana. Five of the balloons were put in a garbage can in the women’s bathroom. The woman who allegedly brought the drugs into the prison told Garland’s sister where they were so she could retrieve them and give them to Garland.

In an interview with police, Payne allegedly said he had no intentions of hurting anyone and would “take all the charges.” A trooper told Payne he would be speaking with Garland’s mother and he asked the trooper to tell her that “he is sorry” and didn’t want Garland to get hurt.

The trooper relayed the message to Garland’s mother and she said, “It all makes sense now.”

She said Garland’s sister had been taking the death of her brother extremely hard and would say things like “It’s all my fault.” When asked what that meant, she became emotional and would not answer.

Payne called the woman again in May and told her to be honest with police because “they know everything.”

She asked Payne what he meant and he said, “The guy that passed away, they connected it all now.”

He also told her to not contact him again because “we’re co-defendants now.”

The woman and Garland’s sister have not been charged.

Payne is charged with two felony counts of possession with intent to deliver, two felony counts of possession of a controlled substance and one felony count of criminal use of a communication facility. He is also charged with four misdemeanors.

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