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A Georgia juvenile corrections officer was arrested after allegedly allowing juveniles in his facility to play a “fight game,” which led to the death of a youth, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Thomas Lee Hicks, 30, was charged with one count of murder in the 2nd degree, two counts of cruelty to children in the 2nd degree, and one count of violation of oath of office, the GBI said Tuesday.
Hicks worked as an officer at the Waycross Regional Youth Detention Center in Waycross, Georgia. According to the GBI, a juvenile was reported unconscious at the facility on Aug. 9. Information given to officials indicated the youth was “in the presence of a staff member and other juveniles at the facility when he lost consciousness,” the GBI said.
The juvenile was transferred to Memorial Health Hospital in Savannah, where he later died. The name and age of the juvenile has yet to be released.
Following an investigation into the incident, GBI officials determined that Hicks was allegedly allowing the juveniles to play a “fight game” in his presence, which led to the death of the juvenile.
Hicks was arrested Tuesday night and is currently being held at the Ware County Jail. If convicted, he could face up to 75 years in prison for felony charges.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) Commissioner Tyrone Oliver said Hicks was fired, calling his actions “deplorable” and not representative of the agency’s “core values.”
“The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) is deeply saddened by the passing of one of our youths,” Oliver said. “We send our heartfelt condolence to the youth’s family, friends, and loved ones, and they remain in our thoughts and prayers.”