AKRON, Ohio — An inmate at a federal penitentiary in Atlanta appeared to admit his role in a 2010 homicide during an uninterrupted, 49-minute Facebook Live broadcast, according to WJW.
Joseph Fletcher, 30, who was once described by Ohio police as “one of Akron’s most dangerous individuals,” is currently finishing a 39-month prison sentence on a weapons charge.
He is scheduled to be released in May.
On Saturday, Fletcher took to Facebook from what appears to have been a phone smuggled into his prison cell.
During the unsupervised Facebook Live video, Fletcher calls himself a “motivational speaker for gangsters,” says he “runs Akron” and discusses the September 2010 homicide of LaDonte Smith, who was found shot to death inside a car.
In 2011, Anthony Smart, also known as “Champy,” took responsibility for the crime, pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter in a negotiated plea with Summit County prosecutors.
In his Facebook video on Saturday, Fletcher said “If it wasn’t for Champy I’d have a life sentence right now.”
“You know I still got love for (Tay). The streets is mean like … But RIP Tay,” said Fletcher.
“What happened happened; it’s a cold game. I’m talking about, it’s a cold game. I seen it with my own eyes.”
Later in the video, Fletcher appears to point his fingers as if he is pointing a gun and says (eliminating his expletives), “I did it, everybody know I did it. I love Tay … a situation presented itself … you can’t be mad…,” and told a viewer of his video, “You ain’t going to do nothing about it.”
The video caught the attention of Smith’s mother, Lashoane Andrus, who said she has reservations about whether Smart was the one who killed her son.
“It really hurt me. I sat at the table for like a half hour just sitting there, just staring, just watching the video over and over again because my thing is I can’t understand how you said you did it and in the same breath turn around and say, ‘I love Tay,’” Andrus said.
Andrus also questions how a federal prisoner could have the ability to carry out a lengthy interactive Facebook video from inside his cell.
“He runs Akron. Like everybody is supposed to be scared of him, including Akron police. It’s like nobody can do anything to him,” said Andrus, who told WJW she is not scared.
“I was actually going to call the federal prison today and find out how he got that phone, but I had heard they got it already so I’m sure it’s under investigation now.”
Because of his history in the area, Fletcher has been ordered by a federal judge not to return to northeast Ohio after his release.
In his video, he acknowledges that he is not welcome back in northeast Ohio.
“Every law enforcement up there hate me,” he told his Facebook audience.
Akron police are aware of the video but they are not commenting on it.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons could not, as of Tuesday, explain how he was able to get a cellphone into his cell to be able to post the live video.