PORTSMOUTH — A former Scioto County Sheriff’s Office corrections officer has been indicted on felony charges for his role in the death of a jail inmate.
Billy Thompson was indicted by a Scioto County grand jury Friday, April 16, on charges of murder, an unclassified felony; voluntary manslaughter, a felony of the first degree; and reckless homicide, a felony of the third degree. If convicted, Thompson could get 15 years to life in prison.
Bailey, a 56-year-old from Portsmouth, died after a May 26 altercation with officers. He died at a Columbus hospital that following Monday, his autopsy revealing “complications of blunt force trauma to his head, neck and torso,” to be the causes of death and was investigated by the BCI as a homicide.
Bailey’s sister Karen Skaggs has been trying to get justice for her brother ever since that May 26 incident and said she will be in the courtroom Tuesday.
“The Ohio Attorney General’s Office contacted me about it,” Skaggs said. “I will definitely be there.”
On June 4, 2020, the Daily Times reported on the incident at the Scioto County Jail. According to a release issued by the Scioto County Sheriff’s Department, Bailey was being escorted from medical back to his pod at around 10:30 p.m. May 26 when an altercation occurred.
The release stated Bailey fled from the officers and when the officers caught up with him, they attempted to gain control of him. Bailey became combative with the officers, and he and the officers fell to the ground. As Bailey fell to the ground, he hit his head on an open door in the facility.
Since the incident, Skaggs has been very vocal stating, she does not believe the incident happened as the department said in the release.
“It was reported to me that a deputy picked him up upside down and slammed his head into the concrete floor several times,” Skaggs said. “Then rammed his head into the door several times, and then after he was unconscious, dropped him to the floor and kicked him.”
Hoping to get answers to the death of her brother and what happened, Skaggs led a protest in the summer of 2020 from Tracy Park to the Scioto County Sheriff’s Department, where there was no visible public acknowledgment by the former Scioto County Sheriff Marty Donini at the time of the protest.
Almost a year later, Skaggs said when she received the call Monday from the Attorney General’s Office informing her about the indictments, she felt a whirlwind of emotions.
“To tell you the truth when I received the phone call, I was happy, sad and mad,” Skaggs said. “All my emotions from the past year came out. I hope he goes away for a long time, and I hope it will show just because you wear a badge, you cannot do this without being held accountable for it.”
Thompson is scheduled for arraignment Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. at the Scioto County Court of Common Pleas. The in-custody death was investigated by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation. The Special Prosecutions Section of the Attorney General’s Office was appointed to prosecute the case.
“A badge does not give you permission to beat someone to death or to kill in any way,” Skaggs said.
Reach Adam Black at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1927, or by email at [email protected]
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