A Florida Department of Corrections officer is charged with murder, reports Fox35 Orlando. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement says Michael Raymond Riley, Jr., 27, killed Christopher Howell at the Lake Correctional Institution. “I’m very, very, very pleased that in less than a year we’ve got an arrest on a beating that didn’t have to happen,” said Debra Bennett of Change Comes Now, who fights injustice within the prison system. “It’s the right step in the right direction,” Bennett said.
Riley’s arrest affidavit and warrant are still sealed by a judge, so the details of what happened on June 18 have not been made public. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said, “The victim died as a result of actions taken by Riley in his capacity as a correctional officer.” Howell was doing time on theft and aggravated assault charges after stealing an eight dollar knife at Home Depot then $60 in cellphone charges from a Target in South Florida. “This was a man that was in prison for a year and four months, doing a 4 year sentence. So in essence, we have a corrections officer that gave him a death sentence that wasn’t administered by a judge. So, I’m happy he’ll know our lives matter inside as well,” Bennett said. Riley was arrested on a second-degree murder charge Monday. By Tuesday afternoon, he had posted $50,000 bond and was out of jail. Bennett called the quick release, “a huge slap in the face. It’s a slap in the face to anybody still in that prison. A slap in the face to all the men in that confinement cell that witnessed the beating. It’s a slap in the face to Christopher Howell’s mother when she turns on the news and sees the guy is already out on bond.”