Open data request makes deaths public

sep. 25—VALDOSTA — Six inmates have died at Valdosta State Jail over the past 12 months, together with two murder victims, in keeping with jail paperwork.

Info on all six deaths was offered by the Georgia Division of Corrections after The Valdosta Every day Occasions made open data requests.

The Occasions made a blanket request from the corrections division in early September for info on all deaths at Valdosta State Jail from Sept. 14, 2021, to Sept 14, 2022.

On stories for all six inmates, info on medical help rendered on the jail and particulars on the reason for demise had been blacked out. These redactions had been to adjust to the Well being Insurance coverage Portability and Accountability Act which offers, amongst different issues, for the privateness of medical data, stated Vicki W. Judd of the Georgia Division of Corrections’ authorized companies workplace.

Different redactions within the paperwork had been made for particulars associated to open investigations, she stated.

Dewey Slayton

Inmate Dewey Slayton was discovered unresponsive on a cell ground at 3 am Jan. 5, jail paperwork present. Workers administered first help till EMTs arrived however Slayton was pronounced lifeless on the scene.

An incident report labeled his demise a suicide.

Wiley Tucker

Inmate Wiley Tucker was discovered unresponsive in his cell at 5 am, Feb. 1, stories present. AND

MTs arrived however had been unable to revive him and he was declared lifeless at 5:20 am

His physique was despatched to the GBI crime lab for an post-mortem; an incident report filed three days after the incident calls the demise a suicide, in keeping with jail paperwork.

George Buffkin

The demise of George Buffkin on Feb. 13 seems solely in an inventory of deaths at Valdosta State Jail offered by the corrections division with none supporting paperwork. The itemizing provides the reason for demise as “pure.”

Judd stated there are “no data which are topic to launch underneath the Open Information Act in regards to the demise of offender Buffkin. Any related data can be protected underneath HIPAA.”

For the reason that demise was by pure causes and there was nothing uncommon in regards to the circumstances, no incident report was filed, she stated.

Hakeem Williams

Hakeem Williams was “fatally assaulted” by his cellmate at 12:10 pm, Feb. 28, corrections paperwork present. At 12:45 am, he was put in an ambulance heading to South Georgia Medical Middle for therapy; he was not alert or aware when the ambulance left the jail, data present. A search of the world the place the assault occurred happened however no matter was recovered was blacked out within the report.

At 12:53 pm, Williams was pronounced lifeless of murder, paperwork present. An incident report mentions “disruptive habits, contraband-hard, disruptive occasion.”

Derick Joshua Ferrell

Derick Joshua Ferrell died April 6 at Valdosta State Jail, in keeping with paperwork offered by the Georgia Division of Corrections after The Valdosta Every day Occasions made an open data request in July.

The Occasions discovered in regards to the inmate’s demise and reported on it after being contacted by one in all Ferrell’s relations.

At 9:46 pm, April 6, medical help was known as to dormitory A2 for Ferrell, who was taken to the jail’s medical bay, paperwork present.

The character of the medical scenario was redacted within the paperwork. Corrections division data characterised his demise as a “disruptive occasion.”

Medical help was rendered and 911 was known as.

An emergency lockdown and prisoner rely had been held.

Ferrell was declared lifeless on the jail simply previous midnight by the coroner, a report reveals.

Darius Deshon Lowe

Inmate Darius Lowe was discovered unresponsive in his cell by safety employees at 1:17 am, April 13, data present. He was declared lifeless by the coroner’s workplace at 2:53 am An incident report characterised the demise as a suicide.

Valdosta State Jail has seen many inmate deaths in recent times:

— Investigators imagine inmate Bobby Carpenter died from accidents following a combat with one other inmate Sept. 9, 2020, in keeping with a Georgia Division of Corrections assertion. The reason for demise seemed to be stab wounds, Lowndes County Coroner Austin Fiveash stated.

— Orvonta Tillman is believed to have died June 15, 2020, on account of sustained accidents throughout an altercation with one other inmate. On the time, Fiveash stated Tillman died of stab wounds.

— Prince Blige, 55, died Feb. 11, 2020; he was believed to have been killed in an inmate combat, in keeping with the corrections division.

— On Sept. 5, 2019, Brodrick Seals, 28, died after being discovered unresponsive in his cell; authorities claimed his demise was a suicide.

— Elander Johnson died July 25, 2019, on account of accidents apparently sustained throughout an altercation involving one other inmate in a case being investigated as a murder, in keeping with the division’s.

— On Could 26, 2019, guards discovered Astar Holmes Jr. unresponsive in his cell; jail officers had been his demise as a potential suicide.

— Inmate Simon Warren died April 14, 2019, after a suicide try, in keeping with state jail officers.

— Kealy Williams, 37, died March 30, 2019, from accidents brought on by a combat with one other inmate, in keeping with a corrections division assertion.

— In August 2018, Joshua Roman died of accidents sustained in a combat, in keeping with the corrections division.

— In July 2018, Herman Galeno, 31, was discovered unresponsive in his cell.

— In June 2018, David Cordova was discovered unresponsive in his cell.

— In April 2018, Joseph Pagen’s demise following a combat was investigated as division murder, in keeping with the corrections division.

— In March 2018, Benjamin Snyder died following an inmate combat; the corrections departments investigated his demise as a murder.

— On Dec. 4, 2017, inmate Jenna Mitchell died of obvious suicide. The lawsuit was filed towards the state jail system claiming her demise was because of deliberate “indifference” to her medical and psychological well being wants of her, in keeping with courtroom paperwork. The corrections division settled together with her household in late 2021 for $2.2 million.

Terry Richards is the senior reporter for The Valdosta Every day Occasions.

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