ADA — A loaded handgun was discovered in a jail cell shared by an accused murderer and an accused child molester last week at the Pontotoc County jail during an unannounced “shakedown.”

Pontotoc County Undersheriff Joe Glover said members of the jail staff discovered a loaded semi-automatic 9mm pistol Wednesday in a cell that housed several inmates. The gun had reportedly been in the cell for more than 10 hours before it was found.

After the discovery, Pontotoc County Sheriff Pete Peterson conducted a full investigation and, within 24 hours, investigators were able to determine who was involved, where the pistol came from and how it was brought in.

Glover said jail inmate Richard K. Goodman, 34, Ada, made arrangements for his girlfriend, 19-year-old Victoria L. Pipestem, to climb on top of the jail roof Tuesday night and remove an old unused air vent cap and drop the gun down into the vent shaft. Once the pistol was inside the jail, an inmate trustee, Notice J. Burns, 23, Ada delivered it to the back cell-block. Glover said the entire crime took less than 30 seconds to complete.

“This could have been really ugly,” Glover said. “The men involved are the kind of people who really have nothing to lose. One of them is facing a murder charge and the other has already been sentenced to 100 years for sex with a child,” he aid.

Glover and PCSO Lieutenant Arnold Scott interviewed several suspects and witnesses, leading to the arrest of two female friends of the jail inmate. Deputies later interviewed two current male inmates and obtained incriminating information from them. PCSO Jail surveillance video also assisted in the investigation.

Based on the alleged admissions made by the two females, as well as statements from the two male inmates, the two inside male inmates will also likely face criminal charges as well.

“My jail staff followed all rules and procedures, which ultimately led to the safe recovery of this pistol,” Peterson said. “The quick action of my jail staff prevented anyone from escaping, or being seriously injured or killed.”

Peterson said his deputies worked non-stop to identify and arrest those responsible for bringing in this dangerous weapon and the air vent shaft has now been filled in with steel reinforced concrete.

Glover said the vent hole on the roof of the jail had resulted from a changeover in water heaters for the jail several years ago. The new heater is electric and did not need the vent that had been used for hte old gas heater, but the vent opening had never been closed.

Glover said workers filled in the opening Wednesday with 20 inches of reincforced concrete.

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