"I Did It": Inmate Appears to Admit Crime In Facebook Live Video

Using Facebook in Atlanta prison equals more charges for inmate

He had been in federal prison in Atlanta for about three weeks when Joe Fletcher posted a 49-minute video of himself on Facebook, according to investigators. In the video, Fletcher bragged about having a phone in prison, called himself “a motivational speaker for gangsters,” and also claimed responsibility for a 2010 murder. 

Now, he’s in even more trouble. A federal grand jury has indicted Fletcher, 30, with illegally possessing a communication device inside a federal prison, U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak said Friday. 

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“This inmate was particularly proud of himself when he posted a lengthy interactive video on his Facebook page that showed him talking on a contraband phone from inside his prison cell,” Pak said in an emailed statement. “He made a further claim that he committed a murder in another state. Prisoners with illegal phones and similar devices inside our prisons pose a serious problem that threatens the safety and security of employees and the public.”

Fletcher’s social media post on a contraband cell phone is only the latest security issue for the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta. 

In January, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution obtained video and photos from an inmate inside the federal prison camp, which is adjacent to the prison, showing a raucous New Year’s Eve party, including booze, inside the camp. Early last year, the AJC published several articles about inmates at the minimum-security prison camp slipping through holes in the camp’s chain-link fences so they could fetch drugs, alcohol, takeout and cellphones to bring back to other inmates.

Photo of a New Year’s Eve party taken by an inmate inside the minimum-security federal prison camp adjacent to the U.S. Penitentiary in southeast Atlanta. (Handout/provided)

Fletcher, of Ohio, has prior convictions for drug trafficking and illegal possession of a firearm, was sentenced to seven months in prison for violating his probation. He arrived in Atlanta on Jan. 5, according to investigators.

And on Jan. 27, he posted a video to his Facebook page, stating that he was enjoying his time inside Atlanta’s prison. The day after the Facebook posting, corrections officers searched Fletcher’s cell and found two concealed cell phones plugged into the ceiling light fixtures.

“This defendant’s alleged braggadocio potentially will earn him more time in USP Atlanta, which he claims to enjoy,” David J. LeValley, FBI special agent in charge, said in an emailed statement. “The FBI will continue to seek out those inmates and others who smuggle cell phones into a prison environment, because of the harm they cause and the continued criminal activity they afford inmates.” 

Fletcher claimed in the Facebook video that he was responsible for the 2010 shooting death of 19-year-old LaDonte Smith, whom he called “Tay.” But another man, Anthony Smart, who is nicknamed “Champy,” pleaded guilty to attempted murder and voluntary manslaughter and is serving a 17-year sentence. Prosecutors in Ohio said they are reviewing Fletcher’s possible involvement in Smith’s death.

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