BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — Latasha Williams said she began dating her fiancé, Quantez Burks, when both were teenagers.
On March 1, 2022, Williams said, Burks, 37, had been at Southern Regional Jail for under 24 hours.
He was arrested on February 28, 2022 after he allegedly fired a gun at his tenant’s cat and then was shown on Beckley Police Department body cameras non-violently opposing arresting officers as they handcuffed him and placed him into a police cruiser.
William said she had spoken with her fiancé on the morning of March 1, 2022 and was making his bond in the afternoon when a Raleigh County Magistrate Court worker informed he had died.
“The last year and a half is the longest I ever been, without talking to him. Ever,” said Williams on Thursday, September 28, 2023. “Whether we was beefing, whether I went to go see a family member, or he went to go see a family member. This is the longest we ever been without talking-to each other.”
For 18 months, Williams and Burks’ mother, Kimberly Burks, have pushed local, state, and federal officials for answers about why Burks died after a private autopsy showed he had been beaten.
Following a Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) inquiry, federal charges were filed last month against two Southern Regional Jail corrections officers, Steven Nicholas Wimmer and Andrew Fleshman.
Both were set to appear in United States District Court of the Southern District of West Virginia on Thursday for plea hearings. It was expected they would plead guilty.
FBI agents alleged the two officers were part of an alleged conspiracy in which Burks was handcuffed and beaten by multiple officers who moved him around the jail in order to continue the alleged beatings.
Burks’ family and friends, some from out of state, were gathered to face the two officers in court where the family said they had hoped to learn more details of what had happened to Burks.
Kimberly Burks said FBI agents notified the family that a chemical spill on the West Virginia Turnpike had resulted in the hearings being postponed around 90 minutes before the first scheduled hearing.
“We’ve been waiting for eighteen months for this day,” said Kimberly Burks. “And it was a heartbreak when it was cancelled today.”
“We already waited 18 months. Why we gotta keep waiting? Why we gotta keep waiting?” Williams said. “But in due time. We just gotta have faith. That’s all.”
Kimberly Burks said FBI agents told her the hearings would likely be scheduled within the next two weeks.
She said she wants to speak to the judge during the hearings so she can explain the turmoil Quantez Burks’ death has caused.
She said the family will keep pushing for justice and for answers.
“We have to accept things that we cannot change, and we can’t change it,” Kimberly Burks said of the postponement. “That doesn’t’ mean that it’s over. It just means we have to wait a few more weeks, or whatever.”
A United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia said on Thursday that hearings for Wimmer and Fleshman did not yet appear on the court docket.