Feds to review Orange County Corrections' home confinement system



ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - 9 Investigates' George Spencer received new information Friday that the federal government is going to review Orange County Corrections' home confinement system.

Prosecutors believe Bessman Okafor was able to kill a witness, all while being on home confinement.

Spencer received a letter from Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs that said the National Institute of Corrections will do an overall review of the Orange County Community Corrections program.

In total, there will be groups looking into the system: the federal review, the internal review by the Corrections Department and yet another review by Orange County's Office of Professional Standards.

In a letter, Jacobs said, "Based on the results of these investigations, I intend to take all appropriate actions involving changes to policies, procedures and personnel."

The program is the county agency that was supposed to be keeping track of Okafor while he was free on bond before a home invasion trial.

It was during Okafor's time on bond that prosecutors believe he killed 19-year-old Alex Zaldivar, a key witness in that case.

Earlier this week, Channel 9 reported that Okafor broke the terms of his home confinement as many as 109 different times during the 10 weeks he was free on bond, yet the Orange County Corrections Department never reported that information to the judge in Okafor's case.

After that information came out earlier this week, the Corrections Department announced it doing a review of the system.

9 Investigates has now learned a total of seven different people in the nine-person home confinement unit have been reassigned as a result of the questions surrounding Okafor's case.

Zaldivar's father, Rafael Zaldivar, said the case is like peeling back a rotten onion.

"We're not done yet," he said. "We don't know where this is going to go, but I think once it unravels, they open up the can, you get all those bad apples out there, and you're going to see. Everything is going to come to light."

The reviews come a day after Zaldivar's father announced he'd be suing the county over the death of his son.

Orange-Osceola Chief Judge Belvin Perry spoke with Channel 9's Ryan Hughes Friday evening about the reviews.

"We learn from our mistakes, but unfortunately this mistake caused a life to be lost," said Perry.

In Okafor's case a judge wasn't notified about the home confinement breaches by Okafor.

"The judge many have revoked the home confinement, but we'll never know because he was never told," said Perry.

Perry said he hopes other witnesses don't get scared off.

"You have to look at it this way: This was a once in a decade occurrence that will be fixed," said Perry.