Margaret Octavia Watkins, 37, and her boyfriend Raymond Wesley Dukes, 52, both of Bunnell, face first-degree felony charges and up to 30 years in prison each for allegedly orchestrating the brutal beating of an inmate at the Flagler County jail in June.
The inmate was already suffering from a broken wrist and a staph infection when he was allegedly lured to a cell, surrounded by five inmates who’d shrouded the cell’s openings with a bed sheet, and struck in the face 15 to 290 times as his broken wrist was stomped on and his ribs were kicked. He had to be hospitalized.
The five inmates who carried out the alleged attack are Timothy James, Marcus Chamblin, Jebea Johnson, Kevonte Fobbs and William Cowles. They were all cellmates, in cell G-3, at the time of the attack. They all were awaiting dispositions on unrelated felony charges. As a result of the planned attack, they were all charged with battery on a detained person, a third-degree felony. Chamblin is awaiting trial as one of two suspects in the Circle K murder in January 2021 of 25-year-old Deon Jenkins. Johnson in late September pleaded and in October was sentenced to 28 months in state prison on a half dozen charges, including aggravated assault.
The victim, Jordan Simon, 38, a Palm Coast resident, had ended up in the felony cell block in May and again in June after his arrests on charges of domestic battery, false imprisonment, pot possession, violating an injunction and tampering with evidence. He would eventually be released in mid-September on two years of probation, after a plea deal.
Meanwhile, Margaret Watkins had gotten wind that Simon had ratted her out to the cops, supposedly accusing her of selling drugs. (Watkins in recent years was convicted of practicing as a nurse without a license and of selling drugs within 1,000 feet of an educational institution, an offense for which she served almost a year in jail in 2021.)
So Dukes allegedly put out a hit on Simon, transferring $100 to John Harkless, an inmate who was not involved in the attack. He was in the felony block on grand theft and fleeing charges. (He was sentenced to five years on probation in September.)
After the attack, according to the investigation, Watkins told Dukes in a recorded conversation (all jail calls are recorded): “Gio, I need to know that I got my money’s worth on this… like I want… I… I want black eyes, like stomped in, like fuckin’ can’t walk type shit. If that shit ain’t right then it’s gotta get done again. I’ll pay somebody to do…” Using a racial slur, she said she wanted her victim “not even be able to lift his head up.”
Watkins also claimed to have great reach and said she would “put respect” on her name.
Detectives listened to several phone calls, analyzed transactions, interviewed inmates and reviewed surveillance video. The investigation reconstituted to the minute the way the alleged attack unfolded on June 20 as the five inmates in G-3 organized themselves and seemed to rehearse some of their moves as they put up the bed sheet. One of them walked up to Simon’s cell on an upper level, on the pretext that he wanted Simon to to help him out with some cooking. Simon was known for his cooking skills. Instead, the cell door closes after Simon is inside, and the camera catches the commotion inside through an unguarded portion of the opening. Jordan than crawls out.
When deputies make contact with him, he tells them, “I’m not a snitch, roll back the cameras.” He later told deputies that he suspected he’d been beaten because his girlfriend had posted drug-related chatter on Facebook.
“I won’t allow this kind of behavior in our jail,” Sheriff Rick Staly was quoted as saying in a release. “I also want to thank our Major Case detectives and the Detention Deputy who uncovered the evidence linking these two to the crime so they could be held accountable
for their actions.” Flagler County Sheriff’s Office Major Case Detective Darrell Butler was the lead detective on the case. The deputy who discovered the key communications was Jennifer Prevatt.
Watkins was back at the jail on Dec. 2 but only for five days. She posted bail on Wednesday, on $25,000 bond. Dukes was also booked on Dec. 2, but he remains at the jail on $25,000 bond.
Brandon Cross says
Do we need more jailers/cameras to make sure these things don’t occur?
Glad culprits were identified, yet bigger question is how this could occur?
Shouldnt this also be a hate crime or do they not normally apply that to blacks against other races of people?
No only whites against other races
Dennis C Rathsam says
Looks to me….The big Apple has come to Flagler County! Wheres the Palm Coast P.D.????? Its obvious the sheriff needs help. And by the way, Christmas is comming, beware the grinch Staley will have radar set up in Palm Coast,,, Dressed up as Santa. Cant figure out who,s he,s gonna catch, traffic is so bad, you cant even do the speed limit….
Concerned Citizen says
Palm Coast will never have a PD.
The Council is already owned by developers. And can’t even manage our utilities and infra structure. So they allowed the Sheriff to come in and line his agency up with a nice profitable contract. He even whines when he doesn’t get extra funding. And alludes to not being able to provide adequate coverage. Something he’s required to do by law anyway as Palm Coast is still in his Jurisdiction.
I wouldn’t call that “a hit”. 30 years for a beat down?
Dropped the ball says
They don’t need more cameras or CO’s. Somebody wasn’t paying attention and shit the bed.
There is no such thing as a “blind spot” in a jail.
Just because they are in jail, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be treated with respect and entitled to human dignity
Disappointed in you Sheriff, ,this lies at your feet
Concerned Citizen says
A massive fail on jail security.
Didn’t Detention Deputies notice the cell shrouded? If so why wasn’t that addressed. Why are serious charges being housed with lesser offenses? So many questions.
From issues with staff and jail security to inmates doing what they want. This Sheriff continues to have issues with his agency. And no one seems to want to hold him accountable. Why?
This woman was once a nurse???
That’s a scary thought!
What’s even scarier is they let her out on bail….sheesh….like we need more people like this on the streets…. We should have taken the money from the dunes rebuild and the bridge to Nowhere and built a bigger jail. Bail bondsmen are laughing all the way to the bank Everytime the judges let these career criminals out over and over
She was impersonating a nurse. She has never been a licensed healthcare provider in Florida.
A “hit” for a Benjamin? We’re talking big discounts here!
$100.00 does go far in Florida, despite the nay-sayers…