Former guard at juvenile detention centers pleads guilty to drug charge

A former Richmond County Youth Detention Center employee pleaded guilty Monday to having marijuana packaged for resale in his car at the juvenile facility.

Shawn Tice, 24, pleaded guilty in Richmond County Superior Court to possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. Assistant District Attorney Melissa Marks told the judge Tice had 45.8 grams of marijuana split among 10 baggies, a 9 mm handgun and scale on Sept. 3, 2011. The items were discovered during a random check for contraband at the center.

Because of Tice’s help with the investigation of numerous problems at the center, which led to the firing and resignation of directors and many staff members, the prosecutor recommended probation.

Judge J. David Roper accepted the plea agreement because of Tice’s cooperation with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation probe.

Roper sentenced Tice to five years’ probation under the First Offender Act. Tice, who had worked as a correction officer at the detention center, must perform 100 hours of community service as a condition of probation.

After the November 2011 beating death of 17-year-old Jade Holder at the detention center, the director and 10 other employees were fired.

Trouble at the center continued, however, and in October 2012, five juveniles escaped from the center, stole a car and led police on a chase until the youth driving the vehicle lost control and crashed.

In December 2012, another juvenile was nearly killed when he was attacked by another inmate. At the time of the assault, a news release from the center described the assault as a minor incident. The victim was reportedly choked unconscious and then kicked and stomped.

The GBI has completed its investigation of the juvenile facility. District Attorney Ashley Wright is reviewing the case file.

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