National News Desk

Irvo Otieno prosecutor seeks one trial for 10 defendants in his killing

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Courtesy Otieno Family

(NEW YORK) — The prosecutor in the Irvo Otieno case on Wednesday filed a motion seeking one trial for all 10 people accused in Otieno’s killing in Virginia in March.

Otieno, a Richmond resident, died in police custody after he was held down by seven Henrico County, Virginia, sheriff’s deputies and three hospital employees for about 12 minutes, according to Ann Cabell Baskervill, the commonwealth’s attorney for Dinwiddie County.

The 10 have been charged with second-degree murder.

Each of the defendants will be able to argue for or against the motion at their pretrial hearings. G. Russell Stone Jr., who is representing defendant Brandon Edwards Rodgers, told ABC News that he has received the motion and will be reviewing it.

ABC News has contacted each of the attorneys for the other defendants in the case. None of the 10 have yet entered pleas.

Cabell Baskervill described the incident as “cruel and a demonstration of power that is unlawful.” She said Otieno’s preliminary cause of death was positional and mechanical asphyxia with restraints.

Virginia State Police were not called for three-and-a-half hours after Otieno’s death, the commonwealth’s attorney has said. In that time, his body was moved, his handcuffs and leg irons were removed and washed and a funeral home had been called instead of the medical examiner’s office.

In the commonwealth’s motion for one trial for all 10 defendants, Cabell Baskervill argued that “the cause and dynamics of Otieno’s death support a joined trial in ways that, say, a single gunshot wound might not.”

Cabell Baskervill wrote in the motion that Otieno’s asphyxiation “reflects severe compression of the chest by a heavy weight. Here, that heavy weight was the Henrico deputies and the Central State staff.”

She wrote that the 10 defendants allegedly acted together causing the death of Otieno. The autopsy couldn’t determine which defendant “was on which of Otieno’s body parts at any given time. The most culpable persons as first degree principals would be those on his torso.”

“If one person here had acted differently, then Otieno may very well have been able to survive,” Cabell Baskervill wrote.

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