BCSO: Jailer suspended after having ‘personal relationship’ with murder suspect

Jailer wrote letters to inmate jailed on murder charge, officials say

A deputy was suspended after starting up a personal relationship with a murder suspect.

SAN ANTONIO – A Bexar County sheriff’s deputy was suspended for 20 days after striking up a “personal relationship” with a murder suspect, according to suspension records.

The county’s suspension documents were released Monday in response to an open records request filed by KSAT 12 News.

Deputy Amanda Ferguson began the relationship with the inmate housed in the jail on June 26, 2019, according to the suspension record. The inmate was housed in her regularly assigned unit.

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“Even after the inmate was relocated to another unit, you still continued your personal relationship through handwritten letters,” officials wrote in the suspension document.

The inmate was later moved to prison after receiving a 25-year sentence for murder.

The relationship violated the sheriff’s office policy on bringing discredit to the department and consorting with known criminals.

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Ferguson was initially given a 60-day suspension, but the punishment was reduced after a hearing that was held in January, the records showed.

Ferguson is one of six who were suspended in February, records showed:

  • Deputy Joel Alicea was suspended for 10 days after an improper release of a Bexar County Jail inmate on March 4, 2019.
  • Deputy Adan Lopez was suspended for one day after Sheriff Javier Salazar found him asleep in his vehicle when he should have been working the perimeter in front of the jail.
  • Deputy Mark Chang was suspended for 10 days after failing to conduct a cell check during his shift. Other deputies inspected his unit and discovered a hole in the wall that connected two jail cells.
  • Sgt. Amy Valadez was suspended for three days for failing to follow policy while considering time-off requests.
  • Sgt. Thomas Gilliland was suspended for three days after making derogatory comments toward the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office using his personal Facebook page.

About the Author:

Fares Sabawi has been a journalist in San Antonio for four years. He has covered several topics, but specializes in crime, courts, open records and data visualization.