From Indy Week/by Billy Ball
It had been weeks since Katrenia Robinson had last seen her husband, but she did not recognize the sunken, beaten man she saw on the funeral parlor table.
Michael Anthony Kerr’s broad, round frame had withered during his month-long stay in isolation at Alexander Correctional Institution in western North Carolina. His forehead was badly bruised and his lip was swollen.
That is not my husband, Robinson thought to herself.
“I think he died in that cell,” she said. “I think he died in that hole.”
As of Monday, the details on Kerr’s death are scant. He was officially pronounced dead March 11 at Central Prison in Raleigh. Inmate health records are confidential, but family members say they were told by prison staff that Kerr, a 54-year-old felon with a lengthy criminal record and a history of mental illness, died en route to the prison from Alexander Correctional to Central Prison. It’s unclear how he died, they say, or why he was not taken to a hospital.
When first contacted by the INDY Monday, N.C. Department of Public Safety [DPS] spokeswoman Pam Walker initially indicated that there were no plans for an independent investigation. But Walker reversed course hours later, saying that her agency is launching an “aggressive” internal investigation—almost three weeks after Kerr’s death—and will request a separate inquiry by the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation. (more…)