tv Lockup Grand Rapids Extended Stay MSNBC April 23, 2016 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT
♪ ♪ soon all of our problems ♪ will be taken by ♪ the cross due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised. definitely a dangerous individual, especially on the street. you wouldn't want to turn your back on him. >> he shot him six times in the face. >> a gang banker squares off with his victim's family in court. >> i hope you rot in prison the rest of your life. >> and with another inmate in jail. a young woman is arrested for a crime reminiscent of the grinch. >> i took kids' christmas presents, that's what i did.
i make out like a bandit. >> and -- >> i was a very proactive deputy. i was also a very sincere deputy. >> staff must deal with a former colleague gone bad. >> there's a learned etiquette of how things are done in jail. we call it jailing. >> grand rapids is located almost equal distances between chicago and detroit. whileit is a fraction of the size of either, many who live here say it has all the benefits of a big city with few of the problems. just outside downtown is a place where problems are all an too common part of life.
the kent county jail houses about 1,000 men and women. some of them have been convicted but most are only charged with crimes and are awaiting trial with the resolution of their cases. >> any problem? >> no problem, sir. >> captain randy demery has been confronting problems for 25 years he worked at the jail. >> good friend of mine said the thing that makes corrections so easy is that all you have to do is get voluntary compliance out of a bunch of people who have already proven that they will not voluntarily comply with the rules of society. so, it's a piece of cake. and we're in a position where we can get to a very large degree voluntary compliance out of that group of people, so actually the challenge of that is rewarding and fun. >> some challenges like those presented by joe leija can take longer to resolve than others.
>> joe leija doesn't come across as a dangerous guy. he's respectful to the officers but it's not one of those guys i would trust. he's definitely a dangerous individual, especially on the street, and within his gang world. you wouldn't want to turn your back on him. >> leija was recently confined to the segregation unit where he's locked in a single-man cell 23 hours per day. jail surveillance footage shows why. >> mr. leija's down here, and his accomplice is kind of just walking around in the day room there. and there was some form of disrespect the night before. and they were kind of just waiting for this inmate to come out of his cell. and as soon as he comes out, the two of them begin an assault on him. the one inmate just throws a couple of punches but mr. leija is definitely the aggressor. an officer who was actually doing a block check at the time uses his oc spray to get them to separate and orders them to get on the ground.
>> leija, an admitted gang member, has proven to be more violent on the streets. originally charged with first degree murder, he eventually pled guilty to second degree murder in hopes of receiving a lighter sentence. he is eligible for 75 years in prison. >> i shot a man six times in the face. no matter how much of a gangster i am, what i think i am, i struggle with that sight when i first got here. like i struggled with that for real. if i could go back, change some things, i still would have shot him. but i wouldn't have hit him in the face and i wouldn't have killed him. >> according to prosecutors, leija and his co-defendant met a 43-year-old man at the home of a mutual female friend in order to sell him five pounds of marijuana. instead, leija drew a gun and attempted to rob the man.
>> he reached for it, boom, grabbed it, went off two times, one, two, hit him in his chest. by that time, i wasn't thinking. i feel like -- it just -- snapped. shouldn't have done what i did, but i did and he was done when i shot him two times. when he went down, i stood over him and shot him six times in the face. the aftermath of the scene, it was -- it was bad. and i'm not proud of it in any way. but i know because i was there, i did it. he barely had a face when i was done with him. >> leija has been at the kent county jail since his arrest 26 months earlier. even though he has pled guilty to second degree murder, he has yet to be sentenced. his judge cannot hand down the sentence until his co-defendant's trial is complete. and that has been dragging on for two years. >> is there anything that you look forward to? >> some fresh air. i haven't been outside in 26
months and three days. i have not been outside and breathed the air. this is the air i'm breathing, from these vents. >> as an adult, leija has had prior convictions for possession of marijuana and assault and battery. before that, he had numerous stays in the county's juvenile facility. >> i already had my hands on a gun at a very young age. like i grew up too fast, man. running is streets, smoking weed, stealing cars. a lot of people said my mom wasn't a good mom, my dad wasn't a good father. that's not what i'm saying. i'm saying i wasn't the best kid, you know. >> roll, salad, cake. same thing we get every day. >> that's why we're fat. >> we are. we're the fat group. >> over in the women's wing of the jail, vicki groth admits she hasn't always been the ideal good kid either. while her crime didn't physically injure anyone, it might have still been painful for her young victims. >> i feel bad for what i did,
not for what i did, who i did it to. i took kids' christmas presents. that's what i did. i'm not very proud of myself for what i did. at all. >> all set? >> yes. >> groth's christmas caper began while she was staying at a friend's house. >> they left, i was still there. i don't know. i just started rummaging through stuff, i guess. i found the receipts. i was like, well, where's the presents? so i started looking. i went into their closet and i found a justin bieber doll and some baby toys and i gathered them up, put them in a bag, had the receipts in my pocket, then i rode my bike up to toys "r" us. >> how much money did you get? >> $72. >> groth eventually pled guilty to larceny and was sentenced to six months in jail. she says stealing has been a compulsion for as long as she can remember. >> i've been stealing stuff
since i was like 5. i don't know how to keep my hands off stuff that's not mine. >> what about it do you like? >> the part you almost get caught, if you do get caught, you get to see if you can run and get away. >> groth describes herself as a kleptomaniac. >> i do it for the thrill of it. i have money to buy anything i want. i can take it, get away with it, that's the rush. i make out like a bandit. i am pretty good at what i do. >> groth has also been good at getting caught. she has six prior theft-related convictions, as well as convictions for drug possession and assault. >> is there treatment for kleptomania? >> you know, i don't know. i should probably check that out. >> how are you going to stop stealing? >> keep my hands in my pockets. that's the only thing i can think of. coming up -- >> hey. >> hi. >> how you doing? >> vicki groth gets a visit from her family. >> it's just weird for me, having like a family member who i can't like trust, you know? >> joe leija goes to court and
gets an earful. >> you shot my son. rot in hell because that's where you deserve to be. >> i was deputy sheriff at kent county for about five years. i worked in training, i worked as a corrections officer. >> he once patrolled these housing units. now he stands accused of a heinous crime. (burke) at farmers, we've seen almost everything,
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it's not a competition, but if it was i won. xfinity x1 lets you access the greatest library of billboard music awards moments, simply by using your voice. the billboard music awards, live sunday may 22nd, 8/7 central, only on abc. as a 25-year veteran of the kent county sheriff's department and the highest-ranking uniformed officer in the jail, captain randy demery has seen a lot. he says one thing in particular might come as a surprise to the public. >> one of the secrets of the corrections world is how many inmates actually admire the
deputies that work in the housing unit. when you have a corrections officer that the people who are in jail look up to and highly regard and respect -- >> how are things going overall for you since you've been here? >> it's been going pretty good. >> -- and that corrections officer is modeling the kind of behavior that we desire -- >> stay out of trouble. do what you got to do while you're down here. >> -- then that really honestly does have a pretty profound impact on how inmates behave. >> and this deputy says he's bought into that philosophy. >> guys, come on. chow time. go eat. >> i use my life experience to school these kids. i talk down, yeah, i am from africa. i took a bag, put it on my shoulder, came here. yeah. why you think you going to trust somebody from a third world country to work within the security system. it's because of education. back home, in liberia where i am from, i worked ten years as a police officer. i want you guys to take my experience and use it, that you can better yourself. >> the deputy is convinced he's reached some inmates.
but daniel levesee has been a work in progress for 15 years now. sutu was assigned to the juvenile facility when he first came in as a young teen. >> i've been going to juvenile a long time. gus, he used to work there. he was from africa, had a strong accent. we made fun of him sometimes, mess with him. always in good humor. >> people know you're a good guy. thing is you get caught up with peer pressure. you see? being around the wrong people. you got to make a future for your little daughter and the one on the way, too. so there's two kids that are going to depend on you as a parent, as a father for tomorrow. so now you languish in prison. what standard have you set for those kids that are going to go back -- >> i'm doing the same thing that my parents did to me by not being there. got to change something. >> levesee was recently sentenced to three years for breaking and entering and is awaiting transfer to prison for the third time.
>> i got a job at a factory. >> how come you lost that? is it because of your charge? >> no, i got in a fight, broke my hand. >> you still get into fights? >> yeah. >> you got to change, man, you getting old. i personally think there's a chance for anybody. and there's always a way you can improve yourself. levesee is working toward that but he needs to make a drastic change. >> you can't be a father to your kids in prison. you can't. you got to create a bond between you and your kids. you got to be a man to support your kids. >> while they say the deputy upholds the values they strive for, steven sutherland did not. 20 years ago he was a kent county sheriff's deputy assigned to managing inmates in this very jail. >> i was a deputy sheriff here at kent county for about five years. i worked in training, i worked as a corrections officer, and i was a search and rescue diver.
and i was just getting into working as a crisis management officer when i left. still a lot of the old hands around here that know me and some of the newer ones know who i am. and it's embarrassing. >> good afternoon. >> how are you doing, sarge? >> good. how are you? >> good, sir. >> i did work during the time he was employed. i think there was maybe 20 to 30 deputies get hired at the same time. and within the same group. we are both in that group. it's really unfortunate to see a co-worker on the other side. >> in the 20 years that have passed since he's worked here, sutherland has had numerous criminal convictions and has served time in prison. now he faces especially serious charges, possession of child pornography and criminal sexual conduct of a minor, in this case, a young boy.
>> i'm pleading not guilty. i have lots of reasons for that. i didn't do it. >> but this isn't the first time sutherland has been charged with a sex crime against a minor. >> i had a misdemeanor charge 16 years ago for inappropriate touching, a girl, minor. and i pled guilty to that. >> to my knowledge i've never seen anything that he'd be capable of any charges that he's being charged with right now, so it's pretty shocking. >> deputy perdue also knew sutherland when he worked here. >> you're dealing with a deputy, a professional, somebody you worked with every day, did a good job. >> all right. >> i was a very pro-active deputy, but i was also a very sincere deputy. if i told an inmate i was going to do something, i'd do it. i was fairly strict but fair. i tried to show compassion.
i guess i treated the inmates how i would want to be treated. after i worked here for four years or so, i had discovered that i was going to the bar more and more often after work to, as we called it, debrief. i knew something was wrong. i didn't know what to call it. i had started drinking to self-medicate, and i discovered that worked real well. inside of a year, i was drinking well over a fifth a day. by the end, i was drinking over half gallon a day. from there the alcohol just stripped away all the other emotion and life became unmanageable. >> along with his prior criminal sexual conduct conviction, sutherland has had several other convictions. ranging from driving under the influence to home invasion and breaking and entering. he says his mug shots tell a story.
>> if you look at the very first photo of me, you'll see a man that was very much in control of his life, physically in shape. and as you go through to the next booking, alcohol had started to play a bigger factor. facial features have changed. and then you get into the last few years, i think i looked like i aged 20 years, and the fire went out. right now at the stage of my life, i'm almost relieved to be in here right now. coming up -- >> there's at least one inmate in here that knows i was a deputy. >> steven sutherland tries to avoid the predators who target ex-cops. later, his own actions are called into question. >> about two seconds later i see his hand come out of the shower, i was like, this dude is an actual predator. and -- >> i should have killed the lady and her son, her son was 18 years old, he was my age. >> joe leija laments his decision to leave witnesses behind. inside the kent county jail,
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joel leija has had more than two he has pled guilty to second me. degree murder and will eventually transfer to state prison. >> i still want to come home young. so i'm hoping to get at least 20. 18 would be nice. i could do that. i got a mindset on that. but i want to know for sure. once i know for sure, i think i'll be more at ease, i'll be more at peace. >> leija's sentencing has been delayed while his co-defendant's trial drags on. so he does what he can with what little he has. >> i take the little teeth out of these combs. the seasoning package that comes with seasoning for the noodles. i'll take that and make them in two. i take the staple and i make a hole. could just easy put them in there. then i could just easy put it in my ear. just like that.
it makes me feel like sort of free in a way, even though i'm not free. gives me a better feeling about being here. >> leija says one thing he isn't feeling better about is leaving witnesses behind the night he murdered another man. >> some other gang bangers, man. >> real cool! >> according to prosecutors, leija met the man at the home of a mutual female friend to sell him drugs but attempted to rob him instead. >> i should have killed the lady and her son. her son was 18 years old, he was my age. but i didn't. i just left. so when i got booked they were calling me a ruthless killer, i had no remorse, and this -- if i didn't have no remorse and i was a ruthless killer, i would have killed that bitch, and i would have killed her son. >> do you regret not killing them? >> absolutely. i wouldn't have been here if
nobody pointed me out. >> now housed in a single-man segregation cell because of a fight he was involved in, leija has plenty of time to ponder past decisions. >> man, i got some good letters, too. >> steven sutherland, however, is housed in a general population unit where he's around other inmates. and for him, that carries a risk. >> for anyone to know that i used to be a deputy here potentially could be dangerous for me. i'm in a medium-high security area, where these inmates are potentially going to prison for 15 years to life. if it was ever perceived i was part of the system, somebody may take advantage of that. >> 20 years earlier sutherland was a kent county sheriff's deputy and was even assigned to the jail in which he's now housed. he tries to keep that a secret,
because when ex-law enforcement officers go to jail, they're often targets for attack. >> there's at least one inmate in here that knows i was a deputy. we have talked and he understands that needs to be kept private. and i made it really clear to him. because later, he was telling another deputy that i used to be a deputy. i says, when i told you not to say anything to anybody, i meant anybody. because deputies will talk, too. >> to make matters worse, sutherland is charged with criminal sexual conduct against a minor, which is another reason other inmates would target him for violence if they found out. >> so i try to just keep a low profile. i have to be on guard. it could be stressful at times, but i've gotten so used to it, it becomes natural for me to put on a different persona. to act out the charade, i guess. >> while some jails immediately isolate inmates like sutherland in single-person cells where they have virtually no contact
with other inmates, that's not the policy at kent county. >> sex offenders are housed on an individual basis, they're interviewed and then determining how our classification officers feel about how they would do in certain areas, we would put them there. basically they go into general population. there's no specific housing area that segregates them. >> we're going to set expectations to the other inmates out there, you're going to live with this guy, and you are not going to torment him and you are not going to make life difficult for that person. if you do, we will deal with you. and this guy's going to stay and you're the one that's going to end up in segregation. >> and now there has been an incident involving sutherland and another inmate. but in this case susser land's not the victim. coming up, steven sutherland is accused of harassing another inmate in the showers. >> i didn't know what to do. i was like, dude, what the heck's going on? and he's like, dude, it's not gay, it's just jailing. >> and vicki groth's mother on
hi, this is the hour's top stories. a publicist telling nbc news the remains of legendary performer prince were cremated today and a celebration of his life held at paisley park, minnesota. prince's family saying an announcement will be made at a future date for a musical celebration of his life. hillary clinton in rhode island today, slamming donald trump's defense of his past statements and positions, telling voters quote, if you buy that, shame on us. she also called trump the loosest of cannons on foreign policy. now back to "caught on camera." >> announcer: due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised.
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♪ o say does that star-spangled banner yet wave ♪ ♪ o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave ♪ inside grand rapids kent county jail, captain randy demery is nearing the end of a 25-year career. he says much of what influenced him came from his old job. >> this isn't what i went to school for, actually. i have a theology degree and i had a couple churches in south dakota when i first got out of college. kind of got involved in the jail business out there.
i figured out i was more temperamentally suited for corrections work than the ministry. i still see this as my life's work. this is my ministry. it's not just a job. it never has been just a job for me. it's not natural to keep human being ins in cages, and it's not natural to be the human being that's keeping somebody else in a cage. and there's something about that unnatural environment that causes the people who are the keepers of the cage to take some psychological steps to make that easier on them to the point to where you don't see them as humans at all. i tried to consciously fight against that tendency. hopefully i modelled that for some of the people. it is possible to spend your career in corrections and not treat inmates like dirt and not treat these people like trash, but to have compassion and sympathy and understanding for what the families go through. >> and families usually go through a lot. >> hi, we're here to see victoria groth.
>> all right, can i check your i.d., please? >> sure. my name is carol groth, i'm here with my daughter, jessica, we're here to see her sister, my other daughter victoria, who's been in jail the last few months. we come to see her every couple weeks and she seems to be doing okay. >> vicki groth is back in jail for larceny, in this case stealing christmas gifts from the children of a trend and returning them to the store for cash. >> previous to this she has stolen from jessica, she has stolen from me, she has stolen from her older brothers also. so hopefully being here will have made a difference and keep her out of trouble when she gets out. >> groth describes herself as a kleptomaniac, but labeled herself something else. >> i got this tattoo when i was 17 years old. and it says "loser." >> do you feel like a loser? >> no, not at all. >> why did you get loser tattooed? >> because it's unique. i'm famous for it. put it that way. >> i felt sad for her, like why would you get that? >> obviously no, i am not a
loser. >> right, right. >> i graduated high school with a gpa of 3.5. i'm not dumb, but i'm still in jail, so -- it was that life, i guess, maybe is what you'd say. growing up i got looked at different because my whole family is white and i'm not. i got treated different by my sister's dad because i am half black, they're all white, i wasn't really his kid. so i just dealt with that. i used to get teased at school. i cried. i cried a lot. >> hey. >> hi. >> how you doing? >> good. >> that's good. you're looking good. >> thank you. i'm tired. i slept all day today. >> what'd you do that for? >> i'm tired. >> you're going to be out of here pretty soon. you need to get your sleep schedule the right way. >> she came in here, was having a lot of issues with stuff, just a lot with family and everybody just not getting along. >> i'm hoping to get out on monday. >> well, that would be cool. i have to work monday, though. >> if you would ask her to get
something out of your purse, she would like take something out without even noticing. she wouldn't notice. it would be in her pocket later. >> she has done it ever since she was this tall. so it was something that started when she was a kid. i got the ceiling painted today. >> did you? >> it's done. >> is she painting too? >> no. she sleeps all day while i paint so she's not in my way. it put me in a bind last year when i had already bought an air conditioner for $300, and she turned around and stole that. so i had to use rent money for that month and go buy another air conditioner. >> i don't know, it's just weird for me having like a family member who i can't like trust, you know? >> i just read a thing in the paper that says that just remember, when you don't take a shower before you go to bed, everything you got in contact with is going to bed with you. the reason we don't talk about her stealing from family through the visit, because i don't want her to go back to her room, her cell depressed, and not have
anybody to talk to. >> i read 30 cards before i picked that one. >> did you? i liked it. >> i had to get one that would give you a laugh. >> that, did i started laughing. i brought it to breakfast to show people. >> before she was sentenced this time, she called me on the phone and she wanted to know if i would consider her moving back in with us so that she would have a stable place to live. and i told her at that time that i would have to think about it. i am concerned that she'll go right back to what she was doing before, stealing stuff and then, you know, i'll be screwed. >> love you. >> love you, too. >> see you soon. >> all right. bye. >> bye. that's it. >> i hate where i'm at right now. choices i made were pretty much stupid choices. everything could have been prevented. like if you have two choices, nine times out of ten i pick the one that's the worst. >> why? >> i don't know.
>> you're smart, why? > steven sutherland also acknowledges making bad choices. once a deputy at the kent county jail, he is now an inmate with numerous prior convictions. sutherland is currently charged with criminal sexual conduct with a minor, but now he faces new troubles. after staff received a pair of kites, jail slang for notes written from inmates. >> we received two kites from two different inmates regarding inmate sutherland. common subject between the two kites was inmate sutherland was making inappropriate comments to the inmates. >> 20-year-old zach thiele, who is charged with assault to which he has pled not guilty, is one of the inmates that reported sutherland. >> i was sitting in the shower. had my back faced like the other showers. all of a sudden i felt something hit my back. i turned around and there's a huge thing of soap. and i was like, what the heck? two seconds later, see his hand come around the shower, threw a bunch of soap at me. at first i was kind of confused. i was like did that really just
happen? i didn't know what to do. then i was like, dude, what the heck's going on? he's like, it's not gay, it' just jailing. >> i had said, hey, if we all share a shower, we'll save water. it's just jailing. and that was what it was. and he wrote a kite saying i made him feel uncomfortable. and i was so angry because they were joking before i got up there, him and another inmate, about oops, he dropped the soap and all that, before i even got up there. it's just the horseplay that goes on when you're in an all-male facility in an area like that. >> the second time he came over, he's like, hey, we're in the shower together again, all this. then he started talking about the jail wants us to save money, so we should shower together and we should use the same soap and the same towel. so at that point i was like, this is ridiculous. this dude is an actual predator. >> did you make a comment?
>> in jest, we all did. it was going on before i went up there. it's something that the guys -- jail is a lot like a men's locker room. there's comments constantly. >> i used to play scrabble with him all the time. i kind of quit playing scrabble with him. he'd make jokes all the time about other guys. i mean, at first it was like -- it was just a joke. then i found out what he was in here for, then i started putting things together. it ain't cool, man. >> it got serious to us, once it kept going on and on. yeah, this dude's serious about what he's saying. >> sutherland has temporarily been moved to a single man cell in another unit until staff can determine if disciplinary action is warranted. >> the policy when we receive a kite like that is to assign the investigation to the floor officer where the kite originated, and that's what i did.
>> in the meantime, all sutherland can do is wait and try to amuse himself. >> this is what i had up on my cell upstairs. it goes on here like this. it gets boring. you got to have a little fun. coming up -- >> yesterday when i came back from court, i was eating dinner, he told me through the door. like, it's over. you know. >> joe leija hears from his co-defendant. and the news clears the way for his long-awaited sentencing. and -- >> inmate sutherland knows me and i think he was trying to play on that during our hearing, bringing me back to the days when we worked together. tried to work on my feelings. >> an officer hands down a decision on his former colleague and soon after so does the judge. it was board-game night with the dalai lama.
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even though joe leija pled guilty to second degree murder for shooting a man six times in the face, he has been in a state many limbo at the kent county jail. his judge cannot issue final sentence and send him to prison until his co-defendant's case is resolved. it's dragged on for more than two years, until now. >> he just lost trial yesterday. which is sad news, real sad news. so, you know, i was kind of -- couldn't really enjoy my meal yesterday when he came back from court. i was eating dinner and he told me like through the door, it's over, you know. he is just letting me know. he's at peace, you know. he still have peace in his heart. he wants to follow god. people come to jail and they find god. my faith ain't that strong really, it's not that strong. i'm always going to be a mobster and i don't regret it, i don't, because i had a good time.
>> leija is now cleared to be sentenced and it is likely to be soon. steven sutherland, who 20 years earlier was a deputy here at the jail, still awaits trial on his charge of criminal sexual misconduct with a minor. now he's also facing disciplinary action in the jail for allegedly making inappropriate comments to another male inmate in the showers. the sergeant, who worked with sutherland when he was employed here, was assigned to investigate the accusations. they came in the form of two kites or notes from two different inmates. >> inmate sutherland knows me, i think he was trying to play on that during our hearing, calling me by my first name, kind of bringing me back to the days when we worked together, tried to work on my feelings. and i recognized what he was trying to do. >> if an officer was to say that i'm using my connections to get special treatment, i would say,
you know, look at where i'm at. this is my second time to the hole. hasn't worked out so well if that's the case. >> when i met with inmate sullivan, i did question him on the specifics of his involvement, and i found consistency in his statements with what was written in the kites. i found him guilty of a category 2 violation of making inappropriate comments to other inmates. with a 2, there's a ten-day cell restriction where the inmate is moved from the general housing area where he was to our discipline segregation unit. >> i am angry because they know, all the guys around them know, the deputy that did the investigation knows, it just wasn't true. but the sergeant, who likes to write paper, got excited about it. he had made up his mind that i was guilty before he came down based on words, not intent. and that was my biggest thing,
was, you know, when people joke and say things, that doesn't make that intent. >> one week later, sutherland would be dealing with something far more serious than horseplay, bringing his case to a close. he reached a deal with prosecutors to plead no contest to first degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor. sutherland was sentenced to nine to 15 years in prison. >> it's tough, you know, it is someone that you've worked with, you hung out with, you know. talked with in the locker room. and then, you know, years later you're on opposite sides of the fence. >> deputy perdue was a rookie at the jail when sutherland worked there as a training officer. >> it ain't going to be easy, not going to happen overnight but, you know, sooner or later you may get your life back to
where it was before all this happened. >> yeah, if not back where it was, at least as i finish out this life with some normalcy. >> yeah, definitely. >> within the next week or so, a transport van will take sutherland to a state prison to serve his time. >> well, there's a saying, to do the time, don't let the time do you. it's just a statement of, go with the flow. you know, you read, you play cards. you make the most of it. you're here. deal with it. sometimes that's hard but until you do, you know, life is really tough. and for me with all the issues that i was having personally, i could be maybe in a different program that would be nicer than this, but this is probably still better than me being on my own
right now. i hate to say that but -- >> sutherland's upcoming transfer to state prison is fine with at least one inmate. zach thiele. >> honestly, i don't want him to get out in the world again, or even with someone else in the jail. because that just ain't right. obviously i can shower in peace now, not having to worry about him coming up every time i try to shower. coming up -- >> i'm very proud that i came to this jail at a time where the corrections industry in general was moving away from a culture of violence. >> a retiring captain reflects on 25 years of change. and a gang member finds out what his future holds. >> mr. leija, anything further you'd like to say before i impose sentence?
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has seen a lot of change over the course of his 25 years at the kent county jail in grand rapids. >> i'm very proud that i came to this jail at a time where the corrections industry in general but even this jail in particular was moving away from a culture of violence and a culture that demeaned the inmate population, and moving towards a culture that treats everybody with dignity and respect and humanely, and understanding that the inmates have their own set of problems that they present us with, but they're all humans and they all need to be cared for as human beings. >> jail officials say one way they do that is to be responsive to inmate reports of threats or harassment. >> zach thiele is one of the inmates who wrote one of the kites alleged issues with inmate sutherland. he's still in the same housing unit as he was. just wanted to let him know that we're there if he has any questions or any other issues. just a well-being check, just to make sure he's okay.
>> hey, zack. >> how you doing. >> good. just want to make sure you're doing okay. are you having any other issues? >> no. it's been quiet since -- >> the pod is good. >> yeah, yeah, a good pod. >> as far as how it was handled, did we handle it quick enough for you? >> yeah. i think an hour, hour and a half after i wrote the kite he was out of here. so i was pretty surprised how fast. so yeah. >> the kite that you wrote got our attention immediately, with the new prea standards that the correction facilities have to abide by, any suggestions of inappropriate conduct we look at real serious. and that's the main reason why we took action as quick as we did and looked into it, did an investigation. interviewed you at least once or twice. okay, thank you very much, guys. >> thanks. >> a different sort of drama now plays out for joe leija. >> i'm going to get sentenced today.
i'm ready to get it over with. i don't have to apologize to the victim's family, but i'm going to. i think it looks better, shows that i am sorry. >> move it, everybody has to fit in there. >> made me realize the damage that i have done to this family. i have a lot of regrets. this is one of the biggest ones i have is to kill somebody, you know. >> people versus joe leija -- >> i'm going to have a lot of family in the courtroom. my parents are going to be there, my mom, my dad. my aunt, my uncle, my brothers and sisters. it makes it way easier for me. >> as the proceedings get under way, the victim's mother takes the podium and reads her statement to the court. >> i still don't understand why you had to pump six bullets into my son. it just goes to show what a cold-blooded killer you really are. it seems to me taking a life came way too easy for you. now i wonder how many other lives you may have taken with no remorse. you didn't just shoot a person, you shot my son. you took a very big part of our
lives away and that piece of the puzzle will always be missing. i hope you rot in prison for the rest of your life. even that will be too good for you. brad didn't deserve to die the way he did. he died a very violent and lonely death. no one should have to die that way. rot in hell, mr. leija, that's exactly where you deserve to be. you need to be off the streets so you can't hurt anybody else. i pray the court agrees with me and you get life in prison. >> when the victim's mother is finished with her statement, leija has an opportunity to read his apology. >> mr. leija, anything further you'd like to say before i impose sentence? >> no, your honor. >> so mr. leija, mandatorily on felony firearm, it's the sentence of this court that you be committed for two years to the michigan department of corrections. consecutive to that and on second degree murder, it's the
sentence of this court, mr. leija, that you be committed to the michigan department of corrections for a term of not less than 22, no more than 75 years. i'll advise you, mr. leija, this is a final sentence of judgment of the court. you are entitled to file application for leave to appeal. >> love you, mama. >> i was working on an apology, but i didn't appreciate what she said. i understand she wrote it to me, okay. but it's different when you read it out loud in front of all those people. i'm definitely not going to give you an apology now because you was out of line when you said that. i understand you want to express yourself, that's your right. i'm not going to tell you sorry though. i was planning on it. that ain't going to happen no more.