The fourth episode of Wichita’s six-episode time in the “Lockup” spotlight aired this past weekend, and it had the trappings of a soap opera.
This episode, “Citizen’s Arrest,” followed three main plot lines, all of which were pretty well fleshed-out, in my opinion. This has not always been the case with past “Lockup” storylines.
I’ve stopped trying to watch “Lockup: Wichita, KS Extended Stay” when it’s actually scheduled to air on TV – simply because it rarely airs when it’s supposed to.
I’m not throwing shade at MSNBC, though, because as a journalist myself, I agree that breaking news takes precedent.
Luckily, MSNBC has been generally good at putting episodes up online to stream soon after they air.
If you missed this week’s episode, here’s a recap on the real Wichita people featured on the show.
A jailhouse soap opera
Manda Lynch, 30, is a former Sumner County Jail deputy who has since developed an addiction to methamphetamine and served multiple stints in the Sedgwick County Jail. She’s currently in jail because of a probation violation, and she’s awaiting a judge’s decision as to whether she’ll be sentenced to state prison or drug court. While in jail, she reconnects with 28-year-old Jenifer Wood, her old drug dealer, who is also incarcerated. Lynch admits to the cameras that she had been attracted to Wood for years, but when they’re incarcerated together, sparks begin to fly between the two. This doesn’t please Lynch’s girlfriend outside of jail – who, despite not having paperwork to prove so, considers herself married to Lynch. And Lynch’s girlfriend, Leah Greenfield, is 7 1/2 months pregnant – the result of a relationship with a man she no longer keeps in contact with. She’s also an addict, she admits.
Got all that straight?
Greenfield wants to give her baby away after it’s born, but Lynch begins to take ownership of it, saying she’s willing to give up anything for the baby. Greenfield, however, is skeptical that the two of them are ready to raise a baby, as she’s not sure they can remain clean and off drugs when they’re together. Eventually, after being sentenced to 10 months in prison in Topeka, Lynch decides to re-commit herself to Greenfield and break ties with Wood. Greenfield, who had been living in a Broadway motel the whole time, decides to move to Topeka – both to be closer to Lynch and to get out of Wichita and start new. Once the baby is born, he is given up for adoption, and he has since been adopted, according to the show.
Petty thief steals petty item
Samuel Wesson, 42, has just pled guilty to his ninth theft charge – this time, for attempting to walk out of Towne East Square’s Von Maur wearing “a $200 pair of jeans and a $270 shirt.” Wesson, who says he’s only ever been imprisoned for stealing things from Wal-Mart and other stores, said the jail time is wearing on him. Probably so.
His plot line hinges on an incident where he is recorded on surveillance video going behind a deputy’s desk to steal a can of chewing tobacco, which he said he then planned on reselling. His alibi: He went behind the counter to steal a roll of toilet paper, which is also an infraction. He is brought in for a disciplinary hearing, but is told by Sedgwick County sheriff’s Lt. Vincent Walker that the District Attorney’s Office may file another theft charge on him for stealing the $3 can of tobacco. He said if that happened, he would take it all the way to jury trial “just to waste this city’s money.”
The DA’s office did file a charge on him, which he pled not guilty to, and it was later dismissed. Wesson was sentenced to nine months in prison on the original felony theft charge.
An alleged threat on Sheriff Jeff Easter
John Delaney’s problems began when he obtained a court document that he wrongfully believed could prevent his girlfriend from seeing her young children until she completed a drug treatment program. Delaney, who is not their biological father, went to the kids’ elementary school that day to try to pick them up, but, since he did not have the authority to do so, the school called in sheriff’s deputies. Delaney recorded his tense encounter with sheriff’s deputies and subsequently posted it to YouTube. He later left the school without incident. According to the show, Delaney then began making calls to Wichita media outlets with links to his video, claiming mistreatment by the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office. One reporter apparently hears him mention something about AK-47s, shotguns, and taking Sheriff Jeff Easter out of office. The reporter then phones the police, and Delaney is put in jail for allegedly threatening Easter’s life, a claim he vehemently denies.
Delaney’s friends and a bail bonder scrape together enough money to get him out of jail, but his freedom is short-lived. He was already on probation in Reno County for failing to register as a sex offender, and his jail incident violated his probation. Sedgwick County sheriff’s deputies escort him up to Reno County, where he faces repercussions for his probation violation. He is eventually sentenced to 39 months for the probation violation, while the charges of issuing a criminal threat against Easter were dismissed. He currently remains in the Sedgwick County Jail.
Deputy Kevin Easter
Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter tells the cameras the story of his brother, Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Dep. Kevin Easter, who was killed in the line of duty in 1996. Kevin Easter was shot multiple times after pursuing a gang member driving a stolen car. Sheriff Easter has told this story in recent years, saying he has only recently overcome the crippling grief associated with it. He cites his brother’s sacrifice as a primary reason behind his running for Sedgwick County sheriff in 2012. Sheriff Easter has his brother’s uniform hanging in a case behind his desk, because he doesn’t want to have to look at it all day and be constantly reminded of his brother. I’m glad “Lockup” decided to briefly feature this story, as the aim of the show, at least according to its description, is to profile the lives of both inmates and the law enforcement personnel that work with them. Much of the Wichita “Lockup” episodes have been heavily inmate-focused, and it seems it’s rare that as much airtime gets spent on the law enforcement side.