Lovelady prison employees face criminal charges in investigation of destroyed property

LOVELADY, TX (KTRE) - An investigation by the Office of the Inspector General has led to the arrests of three Lovelady prison employees.

Jason Omelina, 37, of Crockett, is charged with state-jail felony theft. Richard Ellis, 55, of Huntsville, and Terry Price, 55, of Lovelady, are each charged with third-degree tampering with evidence.

According to arrest affidavits, Price supervised Ellis, who supervised Omelina. Omelina worked at the Eastham Unit in Lovelady as the farm shop manager.

The affidavit states Price learned there would be a criminal investigation into theft of state property, so he authorized the destruction of uninventoried surplus assets at the farm shop.

Another affidavit states Ellis was sent to the farm shop to take photographs of what was involved in the theft. Ellis said Price gave him authorization to get rid of the surplus assets, so he then told Omelina to do so.

Omelina's affidavit states he took four inmates to the farm shop and ordered them to remove the assets from the farm shop buildings. He then told them to move them to a burn pit and had them try to burn them, before filling in the pit with dirt.

The affidavit states Omelina said the assets were new or never used, but did not fit any of the farm equipment being used at the prison.

The affidavit states Omelina violated clear policies on disposing of assets.

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