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Agency News

VADOC Inmate Charged with Solicitation for Murder Plot Targeting Agency Staff Members

June 17, 2024

A Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) inmate is facing charges related to soliciting the murder of two VADOC corrections team members and violations of a protective order filed for an employee’s safety.

Richard Joseph Bottoms, 49, was indicted on two counts of Solicit Felony – Murder and four counts of Violation of a Protective Order by a Powhatan County grand jury on Wednesday, June 5.

Bottoms filed a later-unfounded Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) claim against a VADOC employee at State Farm Correctional Center in June 2023, and continually harassed the employee following the claim. As a result, a court in Henrico County issued a protective order, prohibiting Bottoms from contacting the employee.

Bottoms violated the court order through third-party contact in November 2023, which prompted the VADOC Victim Services Unit to open an investigation that resulted in Bottoms and two additional inmates receiving institutional infractions.

Following the institutional charges, Bottoms solicited another inmate to murder both the State Farm CC employee and the lead investigator from the Victim Services Unit for monetary gain. Thankfully, the two VADOC corrections team members were physically unharmed. 

A trial date has not been set.

“Harassing members of our correctional team will not be tolerated and our Department will seek prosecution of employee harassment to the fullest extent of the law,” said VADOC Director Chad Dotson. “Corrections employees face difficult situations every day and do so with professionalism and pride. They should not face harassment and retaliation from inmates at any point. I thank Powhatan County Commonwealth’s Attorney Rob Cerullo and his office for investigating this matter and holding this inmate accountable for such dangerous actions.

“Additionally, the Virginia Department of Corrections has a zero-tolerance policy regarding violations of the Prison Rape Elimination Act,” Director Dotson continued. “Making an unfounded claim for retaliation, or for any reason, wastes valuable investigation time for any claims that need to be examined.”

No further information will be provided at this time.

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