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Inmate asked judge to send her to drug rehab a month before she died in jail

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) - PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) -- About a month before she died, a local inmate wrote a letter to a Norfolk judge asking him to send her to a drug rehabilitation program instead of jail. 

Regina Marie Honeycutt died Sunday morning at a local hospital after suffering from a medical emergency at the Hampton Roads Regional Jail. The medical examiner hasn’t confirmed how she died yet. 

The 32-year-old had just arrived at the jail on Friday after being incarcerated in the Norfolk City Jail. About a month prior to her transfer, Norfolk Circuit Court Judge Junis Fulton, III sentenced Honeycutt to three years in jail for the probation violation that involved drug use, according to court documents.

Three days later, Honeycutt wrote the judge a letter. 

In the letter, she told the judge that she’d been accepted into the Shower of Blessings Outreach and Second Chance drug rehabilitation program in Chesapeake. She asked the judge to reconsider the 3-year jail sentence in favor of her getting treatment. 

“I have had a turbulent past including growing up without knowing my mother who killed herself at the age of 21 … pregnant at 16, miscarried,” Honeycutt wrote. “All led to drugs, crack, meth, powder, acid, weed and drinking alcohol.” 

WAVY-TV spoke with Tonya Taylor, the assistant administrator of Shower of Blessings. She confirmed that Honeycutt had been accepted into the program, which has been run by Bethany Baptist Church for 30 years.  

Taylor said that the program is outpatient. It provides participants with individual and group counseling and requires them to come to 104 meetings within a year. Program organizers also keep in regular contact with probation officers assigned to participants who have been in trouble with the law. 

“You [sic] Honor, I humbly pray that you give my case reconsideration to enter the aforementioned program,” Honeycutt wrote. “Because I’m tired of being in trouble and the samething [sic] keep’s on happening I truly need and want change!” 

Fulton wrote back to Honeycutt on Sept. 19. He said that he’d already given “careful consideration” to her sentence and declined to release her from jail so she could attend the Shower of Blessings program. 

“I suggest that you take advantage of every rehabilitative opportunity afforded to you during this period of incarceration, especially trauma informed counseling, that will allow you to effectively address your trauma filled past so that you can move on with your life and learn to deal with conflict in an assertive yet not aggressive manner,” Fulton wrote. 

Honeycutt was put on probation after she served a six-year sentence for stabbing her boyfriend in 2009. During that incident, Honeycutt appeared to have been drinking and was angry when she used a utility knife to cut her boyfriend from his collarbone to his waist, court documents state. 

She was also convicted of an assault and battery charge in 2005.  

Honeycutt’s most recent probation violation was her second since November 2016 when she was first charged with violating the terms of her release from prison for several reasons, including drug usage, according to court documents. 

In May she was also charged with assault and battery of a family member; however, that charge was nolle prossed in August. 

“Had I had a program instead of the six years served in prison I believe I would be a better-corrected person,” Honeycutt wrote to the judge. 

HRRJ spokeswoman Zakkiyya Anderson told 10 On Your Side that Honeycutt was not in a detox ward or program while she was at the jail. The Norfolk Sheriff’s Office declined to tell 10 On Your Side if Honeycutt was in the detox ward before she was sent to the HRRJ.

Honeycutt's family members told WAVY that she was in good health the last time they saw her, and they were surprised when the hospital told them she was in critical condition.


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