Investigation Continues In Graceville Correctional Facility Murder

By: Vanessa Nguyen Email
By: Vanessa Nguyen Email

Authorities are continuing to investigate the death of an inmate at the Graceville Correctional Facility last week.
31-year-old Jason Owens died the morning of March 12th from injuries he sustained during a physical altercation with another inmate.
His murder is raising several questions from his family.

31-year-old Jason Owens was serving a 15-year sentence at Graceville Correctional Facility for several 2003 burglary convictions out of Pasco County.
Owens will not be serving the last half of his sentence.
He was beaten by another inmate and died from his injuries on March 12th.
"It was a physical altercation, at this point, it appears to be between two inmates, the investigation is progressing well, we do have a suspect," says DOC Communications Director Gretl Plessinger.
Authorities are not releasing the suspect's name, but Plessinger says the State Attorney's Office now has the case.
"Once we confirm the evidence then the State Attorney's Office will be able to charge that individual."
"The prison will not tell me anything."
Owens' sister, Chasity, says she's frustrated by how the prison's warden, Mark Henry, has handled her brother's murder.
"I am angry about that, Mark Henry couldn't even give me any condolences, he told me he would not tell me he was sorry or anything."
Chasity says he brother had turned his life around while in prison.
"He found God. Everybody that I talked to about this said my brother was quiet, he stayed out of trouble, he didn't get into gangs, he was a very good guy."
Owens' death has also raised a lot of questions about the prison itself.
Several viewers left comments on our web channel claiming Graceville Correctional Facility has a long history of security problems.
The facility is one of only six private prisons in Florida.
"Inmates who are sentenced to the Florida Department of Corrections custody, some of them are housed in private prisons, usually around 8,000 inmates out of 101,000 inmates."
NewsChannel 7 contacted the GEO group, who runs the Graceville prison, but they declined our interview request.
As for the Owens' family, they say they're just looking for the truth.

DOC officials have moved the suspect in Owens' death to Florida State Prison which is located in Raiford, Florida.


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