Ronald Burt Epperson, an employee of Etowah Chemicals, was at the Bartow County Adult Detention Center to work on washing machines inside the jails’ common area laundry room. While two deputies were present at various times to oversee Epperson’s work, he was left alone for a short time when the second deputy left to notarize some paperwork, according to the incident report.
Once Epperson said he was finished with his repairs to the washing machines, he was escorted to a deputy’s office.
Because Epperson was left alone in the room, two deputies entered the laundry and started searching for any contraband. After 10 to 15 minutes, the deputies told a sergeant they had located a black glove taped inside an empty hole on the side of a washing machine. The glove was gathered as evidence and brought to a superior officer.
After examining the glove, deputies discovered it contained tobacco, rolling papers and a lighter.
Epperson was read his Miranda waiver, and he said he understood his rights. A deputy asked him how long he had been bringing tobacco into the jail. Epperson denied the charges, but later changed his mind.
“I knew it was wrong, but I didn’t think I was doing anything illegal,” he said, according to the report. “I mean, it’s not that bad. It’s just tobacco.”
The deputy explained inmates are not allowed to smoke, and asked why Epperson hid the tobacco in a glove if he thought it was not wrong. Epperson shrugged his shoulders in response.
Epperson was arrested and charged with possession of contraband inside the guard lines.