GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Convicted killer Larry Minter spent his first night in the state penitentiary on Tuesday after being transferred from the Harrison County jail. On Friday, a jury convicted the 20 year old of capital murder. The two years Minter's spent in the Harrison County jail hasn't been as isolated at authorities might have hoped. It turns out, you can find Larry Minter, as an inmate, on MySpace.
We can't tell who's behind the postings on MySpace that feature jailhouse photos of Larry Minter and other inmates, along with messages and pictures from friends. On Monday night, I received an email from someone upset about what she stumbled upon on MySpace. It was proof that Larry Minter was able to communicate with the outside word even from the confines of his jail cell.
At first glance, it looks like most any other MySpace page. However, a closer look reveals that some of the people in photographs are wearing jail uniforms and one of them is recently convicted murderer, Larry Minter.
The Harrison County Jail warden says he is aware of site and the jailhouse photos which he says are not recent and are probably the result of Minter getting hold of a cell phone.
"We, late last year. went through a rash of finding half a dozen cell phones inside of a month and a month and a half," said Warden Don Cabana. "It's slowed down since then, but that's not to say that there's never one floating around."
"It's slowed down since then. That's not to say that there's never one floating around. We do very frequent searches, especially in the high security unit. We haven't found any lately."
Cabana says not only are inmates searched but so are visitors. Even the jail staff is randomly patted down. Still nothing is fool-proof. Cabana says correctional institutions around country are dealing with the problem of cell phones turning up inside jails. He says there have been conferences to discuss the issue.
"I know that sounds like something that's going to strike most people as 'How in the world can that happen?', but it's not all that difficult," the warden said. "Cell phones are very small and fairly easy to conceal. They can be smuggled pretty easily and it's just something that is afflicting most correctional institutions around the country."
The MySpace page that features Minter also shows an inmate's back with a tattoo that says "Revenge" and inmates flashing what the warden says are gang signs. There is a photo of Minter and another inmate with their fingers held to their lips. A comment posted with that photo warns "They are telling you b****** to stop snitching..."
Although it's not specified who the message is intended for, two co-defendants testified against Minter in his murder trial.
Whether it's photos or phone calls, Cabana says he worries cell phones in the hands of inmates could create havoc.
Cabana said "Everything from being able to communicate threats to potential witnesses in trial to communicate threats to persons on the outside. Setting up escape plans. Putting in motion plans for contraband being brought into the facility. There is just a whole lot easier to accomplish if you happen to have a cell phone with you in your cell."