Loophole in Ohio prison system may allow inmates early release, victim's brother suggests

Cleveland 19 investigating early release loophole in Ohio prisons

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A Cleveland man, hoping his brother's killer stays in prison, may have unearthed a major flaw in the Ohio prison system that could be letting inmates out early.

In 2007, Eddie Rolland was celebrating his 21st birthday with a ride on his motorcycle in Cleveland when he was hit and killed by a car being driven by Mario Redding.

Redding never stopped after the accident.

He was later caught, entered into a plea deal, pleaded guilty and sentenced to 17 years in prison.

In early 2018, Redding -- through his attorney -- filed paper work with the Cuyahoga Country Court to get released early.

He included all of the course certificates he said he completed while incarcerated, including an anger management course. He was granted a hearing.

Roland's family, including his brother Jeff Cook, immediately started working to keep Redding in prison.

Cook started looking at the paperwork filed by Redding.

Cook used to work as a prison guard and claims it was very common for inmates to pass around paperwork and forge them in with the hopes of getting out early.

"I remembered from my time working in a local prison hearing inmates talk about this stuff," Cook said. "So I researched every certificate."

Cook's gut was correct.

It appears Redding forged his documents to make it look like he had taken several courses while in prison and it was confirmed by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's office.

Here's an explanation of the problem:

The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's officer wants Redding petition for early release denied and In the paperwork filed with Judge Dick Ambrose:

"According to prison records Defendant (Redding) never attended the vocational carpentry class, never attended the vocational drafting class (scale or blueprint) and that he did not attend the anger management class. In fact the instructors listed as signing the certificate for anger management were no longer employed by the prison when they were alleged to have sign the certificate.

Redding's hearing was supposed to Thursday afternoon but his attorney suddenly asked for more time, and the case has been continue until July 20.

This entire sad case has been taxing on Roland's mother Janet Covert.

"I just want it to go away. Serve your time that's what you got serve it," Covert said after the case was continued.

The discovery of this forgery, by Cook, has launched a investigation by the Ohio State Highway Patrol that could spread statewide.

All thanks to Cook.

"It feels good because there's probably a lot of guys out there that have got released because of stuff like this. And it will help put a stop to it leave these guys where they belong," Cook said.

How many other inmates may have forged documents to get early release and how is the State Department of Corrections verifying this paper work?

Cleveland 19 has asked the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) how rampant the problem is, and we were given this response, "DRC's educational department has taken steps to begin eliminating the process of issuing paper certificates.

Below is the brief from the prosecutor showing the court how they confirmed the forgeries.

Copyright 2018 WOIO. All rights reserved.