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Authorities charge Georgia corrections officer with murder, child cruelty

A Georgia corrections officer was charged Tuesday with murder and two counts of child cruelty after a "fight game" at a juvenile detention facility. File Photo by Sakhorn/Shutterstock
A Georgia corrections officer was charged Tuesday with murder and two counts of child cruelty after a "fight game" at a juvenile detention facility. File Photo by Sakhorn/Shutterstock

Aug. 17 (UPI) -- The Georgia Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday arrested corrections officer Thomas Lee Hicks, 30, on murder and child cruelty charges in connection with a so-called "fight game" at the Waycross Regional Youth Detention Center that led to one death.

Hicks was present during the "fight game" when one juvenile participating became unconscious, according to authorities. The juvenile later died at Memorial Health Hospital in Savannah after being transported there.

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Hicks was charged with one violation of his oath of office along with a second-degree murder charge and two second-degree cruelty to children charges.

Tyrone Oliver, commissioner for the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice said they are continuing to investigate the incident.

"The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice is deeply saddened by the passing of one of our youths," Oliver said in a statement. "We send our heartfelt condolence to the youth's family, friends, and loved ones, and they remain in our thoughts and prayers.

"Upon learning this afternoon of the findings of the GBI investigation, I immediately terminated Mr. Thomas Hicks from employment with the department. The actions of Mr. Hicks are deplorable and do not represent the core values of this agency."

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Oliver said the department will take action against any other staff member who has been involved.

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