Brian Adams, Warden at Smith State Prison in Glennville, Arrested by GBI

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The Warden at Smith State Prison in Glennville has been arrested by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

TGV News confirmed Wednesday that Brian Dennis Adams was booked into the Tattnall County Jail on February 8, 2023.

The news follows rumors of an ongoing GBI investigation into Adams that have floated around the Tattnall County community for weeks. In January, the public reported seeing agents outside the Warden’s home across from Smith State Prison.

Adams, who calls Waycross ‘home,’ faces charges of violating:

  • OCGA § 16-10-20False Statements and Writings, Concealment of Facts, and Fraudulent Documents in Matters Within Jurisdiction of State or Political Subdivisions.
    • This is a felony offense which carries a sentence of 1-5 years in prison and a $1,000 fine. 
  • OCGA § 16-10-1  Violation of Oath by Public Officer
    • This is a felony offense which carries a sentence of 1-5 years in prison. 
    • In 1988, the Georgia Court of Appeals ruled that Violation of Oath by a Public Officer was a lesser included offense of Bribery. 
  • OCGA § 16-10-2 Bribery
    • This is a felony offense which carries a sentence of 1-20 years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine. 
  • OCGA § 16-14-1 Criminal Attempt — Georgia RICO Act
    • Under Georgia law, a person commits the offense of Criminal Attempt when, with intent to commit a specific crime, he or she performs any act which constitutes a substantial step toward the commission of that crime.
    • This is a felony offense. 
    • ‘Criminal Attempt’ charges are subject to a punishment of 1-“half of the maximum” punishment for the actual offense (Violation of the Georgia RICO Act)
    • Because violation of the Georgia RICO Act carries a sentence of 1-20 years in prison and a fine up to “the greater of $25,000.00 or three times the amount of any pecuniary value gained by him or her from such violation,” the Criminal Attempt charge would carry a sentence of 1-10 years in prison and up to a $12,500 fine or three times the amount of any pecuniary value gained.
    • At this time, the amounts pertaining to pecuniary value are unknown. 
Ongoing Problems at Smith State Prison Well-Known to Georgia Department of Corrections

Adams has been Warden at Smith State Prison, one of the state’s most dangerous facilities, since October 2019. Since he took the helm at the prison, the facility has experienced a steady decline. Violence has skyrocketed and conditions for inmates inside have deteriorated at an unprecedented rate. Simultaneously, assaults on staff have increased with little to no disciplinary action taken against offenders. Staffing for the facility remains at an all-time low with some shifts having just one correctional officer to manage all of the dorms alone. The prison itself, which houses some of the state’s most violent offenders, costs Tattnall County taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.

Multi-Million Dollar Criminal Enterprise for Smuggling Contraband Leaves Multiple People Dead

Even more alarming, in 2021, the GBI exposed an entire criminal enterprise operating from behind the walls of Smith State Prison. The revelations came about in a court hearing related to the case against individuals charged in the murder of 88-year-old Bobby Kicklighter of Glennville. At that time, agents revealed that the murder was actually a botched murder-for-hire plot meant for a Smith SP corrections officer. Inmates believed the C.O., who was aggressive on contraband, lived in a house next door to Kicklighter. Authorities now say the alleged hit man ‘hit’ the wrong house, however, taking the life of Kicklighter.

Months later, the criminal indictment in the same case alleged that some of the same parties were responsible for another murder. The enterprise reportedly killed Jerry Lee Davis of Jesup, a husband and father of three, in his bed next to his child in mid-January 2021. Davis worked for McDaniel Supply Company which delivered to Smith SP on a weekly basis.

The same indictment also shed light on another aggravated assault against a Smith SP C.O., it implicated additional parties who reportedly assisted in the furtherance of the criminal enterprise, and it detailed the multi-million dollar operation in which inmates were responsible for bringing in designer shoes and clothing, diamond and gold jewelry, drugs, and other items into Smith State Prison.

Despite the overwhelming amount of evidence, to include photos and videos of the items, the issues continued. Additionally, Adams remained Warden. GDC’s lack of action prompted questions from a public concerned with the well-being and safety of the nearby Glennville community. Concerns only escalated as ways the prison has directly impacted the public continue on unaddressed.

The parties charged in the murders of Davis and Kicklighter remain behind bars awaiting further adjudication. For two defendants, the state has announced its intention to seek the death penalty. You can read more about those cases here.

Jessica Szilagyi

Jessica Szilagyi is Publisher of TGV News. She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement and corrections. She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia.

Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta and co-creator of of the Peabody Award-nominated podcast 'Prison Town.'

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  1. Warden Adams put cadets on shift by themselves BEFORE even attempting and graduating BCOT in March of 2020. I was one of those cadets and we weren’t even certified to carry OC spray so we had no protection and no training on how to handle a situation if it were to happen. We only had radios and witnessing the violence first hand with an offender attacking a cadet because she found his cellphone during a shakedown and there were no other officers within distance to assist just shows you the lack of discipline and authority within the facility. He also falsely accuses past employees of being unreliable and untrustworthy to prospect employers making it difficult to get jobs at other facilities. I would work sometimes above 200 hours biweekly on night shift and would take other officers shifts under different supervision that couldn’t come in or quit because I would always answer my phone and I never turned down overtime. Warden Adams ruins potential career opportunities for the officers who no longer work under him and if the officer attempts to return due to finding another facility to work at he publicly humiliates them in front of their colleagues, he turned a blind eye to the corruption, ignored his officers concerns about important matters of the facility and threw his weight and rank around as though he was almighty.

  2. Warden Adams also KNEW Jessica Gerling had relations with an offender and even had physical evidence even before she was sent to training and he just left it alone instead of removing her from the program and banning her from the facility. I graduated with Gerling in June of 2020 and before we even started training she even confessed to her wrongdoing which made me feel uncomfortable because as a C.O. you rely on your other officers in case of an emergency like a riot and I had to put my life in someone’s hands that would probably walk slow instead of sprinting to aid me or another in a situation that could’ve involved her boyfriend or his friends. Working at the most dangerous facility with someone like that is bone chilling because at any moment they could switch and you could be dead because of the actions of that person and having a warden whom is supposed to protect his people and the facility just ignore the dangers of the situation and environment is life threatening and life changing.

    • Warden Adam’s did know about Gerling, as well as others. Hell, they hired gang members and then got mad when they almost got into fights with rival gang members and other staff. Warden Adams is not alone, there are other staff members there who did as him, but lower in rank.

  3. It’s been a long time coming. People have lost their lives because of this man. Case in point: Terrance “CAP” Beasley. I wonder if his family has seen the video. I wonder if anyone even knew a video existed. They also had hand-held camcorders that were NOT deleted with mounds of evidence on them. The officer the hit was put on WAS NOT a good guy, as the GBI claimed. No one deserved to die and it was WRONG on many levels, but that officer was NOT one of the good ones. He was in that SSP officer click. Birds of a feather flocked together. They set officers up to be assaulted by inmates, they hired gang members, you name it, they did it. They should do a log book history check. Logs books tell alot, that’s if they haven’t been destroyed.

  4. Yes I knew my Dad did not kill himself that guy covered up my Daddy s murder at no video tapes all covered up my dad’s name was Joseph Franklin Norris Sr, suicide cover up

    • I never had any issues from your dad. He always went to work when others didn’t want to go. When I heard about his suicide, I didn’t believe it, I was shocked. I can say that I was also shocked to hear what dorm he was in when it happened.The officer on duty that night fell asleep and didn’t do checks for over 4 hours. Someone will probably come after me for saying this little bit.

  5. The GBI needs to investigate Rogers State Prison in Reidsville, GA. That is also located in Tattnall County. Inmates are beaten and told what to do by other inmates, there is no one attending to the inmates at times, no one returns calls from family members, inmates items are taken whenever a gang wants what they have, transfer requests go unanswered, some inmates have kept themselves in what they call the hole to stay safe from other inmates, and much more than I can remember or will ever know. What I do know is that that prism and staff need to be investigated and the prison possibly shut down with those living conditions .

  6. I never had any issues from your dad. He always went to work when others didn’t want to go. When I heard about his suicide, I didn’t believe it, I was shocked. I can say that I was also shocked to hear what dorm he was in when it happened.The officer on duty that night fell asleep and didn’t do checks for over 4 hours. Someone will probably come after me for saying this little bit.

  7. My son was sentenced for 20 years for something he did not do. He’s been in Smith State Prison for 15 yrs. I his mother knows that there have been alot of corruption inside. I know that the state of GA is corrupt. The judge at that time was corrupt. No one wants to help, even the lawyer I hired said that he couldn’t help even though we have a recant in hand. I wrote to warden a few times but never got a response back. I’m glad he is going to do time. The truth prevails. It’s unfortunate that the innocent people like my son has spent all that time while the warden whom was supposed to be a good guy ended up being corrupt!

  8. Jessica the journalist I want to apologize I am wrong when I say I’m wrong I had no idea and I ran you down on a former thread because alot of people trusted him. God sees things we don’t and hears conversations we don’t

  9. Wow, sounds like the corrections system in Georgia has spun completely out of control. Very well written story, although there are unanswered questions. What was the motive for killing Jerry Lee Davis? Since he was a delivery driver to the prison, was him company involved in the smuggling operation? Secondly, how could Jessica Gerling have a “relationship” with an inmate? Some of the articles infer that she was a suspect in the murder of Jerry Lee Davis. Why was a hit ordered on her or was this a random crime?

    • Hi Gadfly,

      To answer a few of your questions:

      The motive for killing Jerry Lee Davis is not yet known. He worked for McDaniel Supply Company, but at this time, no evidence has been presented to suggest that company was involved in the smuggling operation. The Davis murder case has not been indicted in Wayne County, however, so many of the details of that case have not been revealed. Arguably, we know the least about the case ‘at this time.’

      Jessica Gerling worked for GDC for 6 months in 2020 – specifically at Smith State Prison. My speculation is that she met/began the relationship at that time. Since inmates have such easy access to cell phones behind bars, the relationship was obviously allowed to continue after her termination…”long distance.” She was terminated for contraband/her interactions with inmates.

      The inference that she was a suspect in the murder of Jerry Lee Davis is based on the lengthy indictment from Tattnall County for the murder of Bobby Kicklighter. That indictment says that on 1/13/21, “Nathan Weekes, Christopher Sumlin, and Jessica Gerling engaged in n act of racketeering activity….the commission of the crime of malice murder…causing the death of Jerry Lee Davis…by shooting him with a firearm.” The indictment suggests it was another hit from behind bars by Weekes, carried about by Sumlin (also charged for killing Kicklighter) with the help of Gerling. Obviously, she was never convicted because she was also murdered in June 2021, but the evidence presented in the other cases is why I have made those points.

      I hope that helps answer some of your questions. I know it’s a lot to keep up unpack! 🙂

      • This is an amazing story. I give you props for all of the fact finding and doggedness that is not found in newspapers anymore. Right now I am listening to your story on private probation YouTube story. Years ago, I worked as a reporter in a small town in Georgia where a member of the pardons and parole board actually served time for taking “bribes” when the privatization of probation offenders began in Georgia. Agree that most offenders end up being victims of the justice system in a dead end hole of debt, servitude and the ability to breed new customers.

  10. Speculation means nothing from those who were not employed there. Warden Adams/Haley Dean/Sabrina Lupo/Whitfield/McFarland/J. Maldonado,/Quan Jackson/Radar/Lt Wright/Sumner/Conaway/Lt. Johnson/Lt. Jackson.All these officers ran in the same group and have been witnessed doing dirty things, but nothing was ever done. Quan Jackson and Lt Johnson beat the crap of a mental health inmate and said he slipped in a shower that had not been open. J. Maldonado had several complaints for excessive force witnessed by many. Inmates were gaining access to keys from officers. There is ALOT people don’t know. Warden Adams moved Terrance ‘CAP’ Beasley the day before he was murdered by 7 inmates the following morning from a lockdown dorm to a general population dorm (the worst dorm) the day before his death. The video was gruesome. Sgt Conaway was the officer in the control room letting inmates from other dorms in Beasleys dorm. A Lt and Officer Sumner were the lookouts while other inmates were entering the dorm Beasley was killed in. Oh, and Warden Adams and several others could actually access prison cameras from their cellphones. Theses are NOT speculations, they are facts.

  11. Something needs to be done about the entire GDC. From the top down. The last week my son was at Jackson Diagnostic & Classification 13 men were stabbed, three sent to the hospital. My son was threatened by a a Lt. That he was going to beat his ass if he didn’t fight another inmate. The week before an inmate from another block attacked a man 2 doors down from my son and threw him over the second floor rail. There was no one except inmates. Before someone came in the man could have been killed. How many people have to lose their lives before something is done. Yes some of the people that are in prison should be there, but they are human and deserve to be treated like a human. There is one difference between Georgia state prisions and the humane society, dogs and cats ate fed, have warm places to sleep, warm baths, and are monitored, and they have a chance to be paroled (adopted). I have spoken with families that the inmate served their 20 years and was not paroled for five years after. Fix our prison system stop the corrupt wardens of correctional officers from killing our loved ones.

  12. Keep digging. For the Love of God, keep digging. I know the smell will be overpoweringly strong but this is only the tip of the priverbial iceberg…….. This goes deeper and higher then anyone could know….listen to the inmates, listen to the staff, listen to the Employees ( guards ) and listen to he Maintenance personal……… Piece it together. The corruption is so wide and they coverups are on going…… Even the New director’s hands are dirty….. He will focus the blaming on this Warden ( Adams ) knowing full well that the corruption goes much much higher….. This is not just Local. This is all the prisons. Georgia has a Rotting Smell and its it’s prisons…… And Prison Administration…… And all they want now is for it to go away……. Follow the Money$$$$$$$. Everything is connected……..please please please don’t stop digging……

  13. “””””the furtherance of the criminal enterprise, and it detailed the multi-million dollar operation in which inmates were responsible for bringing in designer shoes and clothing, diamond and gold jewelry, drugs, and other items into Smith State Prison.”””””
    Inmates? This statement is implying that ( Inmates ) are responsible for bringing in this contraband?????? Please do tell how?
    Inmates bring nothing into a prison!!!!!!!!!! Guards, Staff, Maintenance, contractors and visitors bring in contraband. NOT inmates. Do you expect any reasonable person to believe that ( Inmates ) leave the prison, drive to Wal-Mart, buy cell phones wit cash, stuff it up there A$$ added some designer shoes and clothing, diamond and gold jewelry, drugs, and other items. Drive back to the prison and walk in happy. Maybe stop at the Rusty Pig for curbside BBQ??????? How Stupid is the pubic?????? And the media sell this misconception to you all…….. Open your eyes. The only things coming into a prison is from people from the outside…. Follow the money$$$$$$$$$……

  14. When I was growing up in Tattnall (I’m a senior) the drugs were blamed on the military base. Not true. The criminal behavior is not new, and the wealthier families got away with a lot the poor folk were punished for. I left the area, came back many years later, some of this is still true. The thing that brought the 3 murders to the attention of the GBI was the fact that an outstanding citizen was murdered. The 4 accused were either on drugs or idiots, or both. They left so much evidence the case was easily solved. Then some started turning on the other and it’s both shocking and scary. I always said the ones in charge had to know what goes on in their prison. Nothing will be published in our local papers. They are too afraid of insulting a person of power (wealth) in our community. I have friends and relatives that have reported situations at the prison and no one listened. Rapes, drugs, fights. Inmates are begging for help.

    Which brings other questions. Who is in charge of the warden? Where is the over sight committee? Why are complaints not investigated? I know first hand people have tried to bring attention to the drugs. An acquaintance told me her family member started working at the prison and used drugs daily that were purchased at the prison. Other employees were using too. It was reported, no investigation.

    All of the families have my heart felt sympathies. I know it’s not easy being an inmate or an employee. Not all inmates are hardened criminals, not all employees are on the ‘take’. The good employees that are trying put themselves in danger every day.

    I just keep reading The Virtue, watching Sav news to find out what is happening in my own little town.

    Thank You!!

    The town is described as ‘sleepy’ by outsiders, if they on ly knew of the ugly under belly.

    I’m going to name a name since it’s all over the news. The Dasher family has been charged with running drugs. Is all of this tied in with the prison crime organization?

    Which brings another question

  15. My brother is an inmate at Smith and has had expressed several times how horrible it is there. We have called to request his being moved and we have written several different authorities and we are concerned for his life. He likes to stay in isolation just so he isn’t with the general population where a lot of horrible things happen. If there is anything else we can do to reach out to the state, please let us know. It is hard to have an effective system for people who have committed crimes when the officials are so corrupt and I believe there is corruption all the way up to the government level. Leaders in this state and this country are out of control with corruption. It’s hard to find the actual “good” ones.

  16. Contraband entering the prisons are mostly by Drones. It’s so easy to do with short staff, and cheaper than paying a officer to bring it. Officers account for probably 20% of the contraband entering the prisons. I’ve been in this terrible, corrupt system for 35 years and I am speaking from experience!

  17. Several weeks ago the Sav news reported another young inmate committed suicide st Smith prison. As usual, nothing was mentioned in the Tattnall paper. All we hear (or see) of the W. Dasher commissioner in our Tattnall news is his annual cookout, which does include many gov officials and politicians.
    Now, the state wants to add another prison by Smith prison. Since Reidsville State Prison has closed, except for emergency inmate transfer housing that brings Tattnall prisons back to a total of three.
    I will be voting ‘no’ and ‘hell no’ if it is an option!!!
    I can vouch that the inmates are the majority of the cases in Tattnall courts. I have been on serveral juries involving inmates, their families, and contraband. The inmates, their friends, families were dropping off cigarettes, drugs, other contraband wrapped into a ball with duck tape. The balls were dropped off at Hill State Park and the inmates picked them up while on cleaning details.
    Obviously, there is not enough guards, higher over site of the prison is needed. Wayne Dasher does nothing but pose for pics for the news.
    As a taxpayer, and a senior, I don’t need higher taxes.
    The way the ‘beings in power’ try to keep the prison news secret is scary. The drugs, rapes, suicides, and many other problems with security and prison deterioration need to be under control before adding to the problem.
    We have a big drug problem for our small town and the ‘elite’ families are the ones the fingers (and arrests) are pointing to.

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