Dustin Blake Otwell, 31, of Atlanta was arrested Feb. 7 after an investigation found he had taken $600 belonging to a Hispanic man who had been booked into the Smyrna City Jail.
Otwell altered the man’s property sheets to hide the theft, and initially tried to blame the Smyrna Police Officer who had arrested the inmate. Unknown to Otwell, that officer had counted the money in the Hispanic man’s presence and was recorded by his patrol-car video camera.
At the time of his arrest, Otwell had been employed as a jailer for less than six months. He voluntarily surrendered his jailer certification from Georgia’s Peace Officer Standards and Training Council.
On Wednesday, Otwell entered a guilty plea to one count of theft by taking and one count of making false statements and writings, and he was sentenced by Cobb Superior Court Chief Judge Adele Grubbs to 10 years, with two of those to serve.
Assistant District Attorney Shep Orlow, who prosecuted the case, said Otwell likely believed the man whose money was stolen would not file a complaint about the theft because he does not speak English.
— From staff reports