A Tennessee woman is in custody facing second-degree murder charges after corrections officers alleged that she passed methamphetamine to an inmate by kissing him during a prison visit. The man later died of an overdose.
Rachel Dollard, 33, has been accused of passing a half of an ounce of meth to inmate boyfriend Joshua Brown, 30, "as the two exchanged a kiss during visitation at the Turney Center Industrial Complex," a report says.
Brown then supposedly swallowed the balloon containing the methamphetamine and later died of an overdose at a local hospital.
Brown had been serving an 11-year sentence for drug-related offenses. Information listed at the Tennessee Department of Corrections website says he began serving his sentence in July 2016, though a TDOC press release, which confirmed his 11-year sentence, also stated that his sentence was set to expire in 2029. A call made to TDOC did not clarify the discrepancy.
The kissing incident allegedly occurred back in February, but Dollard had not been charged until last weekend. In addition to second-degree murder, Dollard has also been charged with introducing contraband into a penal facility. She faces up to 60 years in prison, if convicted.
"This incident points to the real dangers of introducing contraband into prisons and the consequences that follow," said David Imhof, Director of TDOC’s Office of Investigations and Conduct. "Our agency will pursue prosecution against any individual who threatens the safety and security of our staff, the men and women in our custody, and our facilities."
TDOC further stated that it has several protocols in place to prevent drug exchanges during inmate visits, "including pat searches of anyone entering a facility, vehicle and cell searches, and drug detection dogs."
It is unclear whether Dollard has yet made a court appearance or secured an attorney.
Dollard's mother, Sonia Dollard, told reporters that her daughter has denied the charges.
"She says she didn’t do it," Sonia Dollard said. "She says that’s not what happened, that she didn’t do it, that she didn’t do this. She cared a lot about Josh. I wasn’t there, so I don’t know, but she’s denying this happened."
"[W]e've been blindsided by this," she continued. "It’s a tragic, tragic, tragic thing for Josh’s family and our family, and we are just praying for God to come into this and help us all through it."