Special Reports

Inmate says prison employee was his lover and drug smuggler

Inmate Timothy King is suing Chariesse Boyd, a behavioral specialist at Maury Correctional Institution, alleging that they had a sexual relationship and that she smuggled him contraband.
Inmate Timothy King is suing Chariesse Boyd, a behavioral specialist at Maury Correctional Institution, alleging that they had a sexual relationship and that she smuggled him contraband. N.C. DPS

Written inside his diary, inmate Timothy King marked the days he had sex with a prison staff member.

In all, King and Chariesse Boyd, a behavioral specialist at Maury Correctional Institution, had sex 36 times, the prisoner alleged.

Signals over the public address system and fake hall passes told the two where to meet, King said in a statement to prison officials. They had sex, sometimes in dark offices along busy hallways, he alleges.

And for more than a year, Boyd smuggled cellphones, tobacco and drugs into the prison, according to King’s statement.

The partnership paid well. Boyd sneaked in the contraband and King sold it to inmates, earning Boyd at least $20,000 from April 2010 to August 2011, he wrote to prison leaders.

“Mrs. Boyd was like my wife,” King wrote. “It was my job to maintain her and help her with her bills.”

Boyd did not respond to messages and letters requesting comment.

In court documents, however, she “strenuously denies” having sex with King and smuggling him contraband. She has not been charged with a crime.

Contacted by the Observer, King’s daughter, sister and a high school friend separately corroborated many aspects of the inmate’s account.

King’s lawsuit outlines the pair’s alleged year-long relationship and highlights some of the corruption plaguing North Carolina’s prisons.

In it, he alleges that Boyd sometimes forced him to have sex and asked him to assault certain inmates. She even put a hit on King when he quit selling contraband, he contends.

A lucrative relationship

King, 43, is serving a life sentence for a 1994 murder. He got to know Boyd in 2010 in a self-help program she taught at the eastern North Carolina prison. He described her as an impeccably dressed woman who often wore Tiffany jewelry and snakeskin boots.

The two chatted after class, he told the Observer. King talked about his emotional problems and his daughter’s homelessness.

“She was willing to help with my daughter,” said King, who’s not been cited for a prison infraction in more than five years. “She said that if I’m willing to do that for you, what’s in it for me?”

“I said, ‘What do you want?’ She said she had student loans. I said, ‘I don’t have no money. How can I help with that?’ ”

Soon, King alleges, the two partnered for a lucrative contraband business.

Boyd smuggled in drugs, tobacco, cellphones, prescription pills and alcohol, according to his lawuit.

King said Boyd hid the contraband in specially designed bras or a girdle. Using cellphones, the two arranged meetings or pick-up spots.

And the money poured in – up to $200 for a cellphone, $1,200 for a pound of tobacco and $1,500 for an ounce of cocaine, King told the Observer.

According to court filings, King helped pay for Boyd’s Mercedes, trips to New York and her “lunch-break sushi habits.”

King alleges that he sent the money to Boyd via her friends in New York, P.O. boxes, cash and money wire services. He would wire the money using fake names, such as Foxy Brown. In her deposition, Boyd denied receiving money under that guise but admitted to owning the P.O. box King cited.

“I knew what I was doing – selling drugs – was wrong,” said King, who has an untrimmed beard and a prostration mark on his forehead from Islamic prayer. “But I didn’t care because I was in love with her.”

Later, King and Boyd tested positive for the same strain of herpes, though a doctor said there was no proof that Boyd gave King the virus, court records show.

A lax investigation?

In mid 2011, King told Boyd that he wanted to purify himself for Ramadan. That meant no sex and no contraband for more than 70 days, he said.

Soon afterward, Boyd called King into her office. Her tone was angry, he said.

“What am I supposed to do with the bills?” he said she asked. “ … Get the ---- out of my office!”

Soon, the relationship was over, and Boyd moved on to another inmate, King said in court records.

Prison leaders say officers who have sex with inmates are vulnerable to extortion, which can put inmates, employees and the public at risk. They say they take such behavior seriously.

But it took more than a year – and two complaints from King – for the Department of Public Safety to discipline Boyd, records show.

After they began looking into the case, internal emails suggest prison administrators were troubled by the allegations of sex and contraband – and by how much King knew about Boyd’s personal life.

In a September 2012 email to the prison’s eastern region director, Maury’s superintendent Dennis Daniels said he is “requesting assistance from the State Bureau of Investigations (SBI) in the investigation being conducted at Maury Correctional on Ms. Chariesse Boyd.”

But the SBI has no record of the case, said Anthony Jernigan, director of the bureau’s northeastern district.

In a letter to then Director of Prisons George Solomon, a regional manager recommended that Boyd be required to take a polygraph.

Court records give no indication that Solomon responded. State prison leaders declined to discuss how they handled the case or the allegations against Boyd.

In 2013, two years after King’s initial grievances, Boyd was disciplined for having an inappropriate relationship with King, records show. She still works for the prison.

King said that the state offered him $5,000 to settle his lawsuit against Boyd. He refused it. Now he’s waiting for the case to go to trial.

Gavin Off: 704-358-6038