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.