A Texas sheriff has fired six jailers and suspended 29 others after an investigation determined they let a mentally-ill inmate live in cell filled with rotting food covered in bugs, a clogged toilet, feces-smeared walls, and with his clothing hanging from the ceiling, presumably because he was contemplating suicide.
KRPC reports that Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia dismissed two jailers at the center of the controversy, as well as four supervisors who oversaw them. Additionally another 29 jailhouse employees were suspended without pay for periods of one to 10 days.
According to prosecutor Julian Ramirez, mentally-ill inmate Deterrius “Terry” Rashad Goodwin was left in his cell for weeks in deplorable conditions.
“A sheriff’s office compliance team came through and discovered that inmate Terry Goodwin’s cell was deplorable. They found dozens of food trays. They found an infestation of gnats. They found horrible conditions,” Ramirez said.
Two of the jailers, Sgt. Ricky Pickens-Wilson and Sgt. John Figaroa, face third-degree felony charges for tampering with government documents by signing off and claiming they had inspected the cell when they had not.
According to Sheriff Garcia, the problems in Goodwin’s cell were known but nothing was done about it.
“The investigation indicated that problems were reported to supervisors and, ultimately supervisors failed to act and take immediate corrective action,” Garcia said when announcing the firings and suspensions.
Goodwin’s mother, Mashell Lambert, said this this is not the end of it for the Houston jailers.
“They left my son in that horrific cell. My son was set up to kill himself. He had rags hanging from his ceiling. He was about to commit suicide,” she said. “He’s mentally ill, and you just left him there to die.”
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