Tag Archive: Michael Anthony Kerr

$2.5 Million Settlement Paid To Family Of Michael Kerr, Inmate Who Died Of Thirst In Solitary

michael_kerr_web

From WRAL

— State officials will pay out a $2.5 million settlement to the family of a mentally ill prisoner who died of dehydration last year five days after he was left in handcuffs in solitary confinement.

Correctional officers found Michael Anthony Kerr dead on March 12, 2014, after transporting him from Alexander Correctional Institution in Taylorsville to Central Prison in Raleigh.

An Army veteran who suffered from schizoaffective disorder that went untreated for at least six months, Kerr was serving a 31-year sentence at Alexander Correctional for firing a weapon at private property and repeated felony convictions. He had been held in solitary confinement for more than a month before his death. (more…)

Prison worker dismissed for inmate’s death has new position

michael_kerr_webFrom The Indy

At least one North Carolina prison official who lost his job following the death of inmate Michael Anthony Kerr has a new position in the Department of Public Safety.

DPS spokeswoman Pam Walker confirmed this week that John Monguillot, the former assistant director of mental health in the prison system’s western region, received a demotion after Kerr’s death. He is now the psychological services coordinator at Marion Correctional Institution in western North Carolina, where he oversees mental health services at the facility.

As a result, Monguillot’s annual salary dropped from $93,786 to just under $80,000. Walker did not offer any additional comment on Monguillot’s demotion. (more…)

Prison captain fired over inmate death wants job back

kerrFrom WRAL

A corrections captain fired earlier this year after a mentally ill inmate died of thirst appeared in court this week to fight for his job.

Shawn Blackburn, formerly a captain at Alexander Correctional Institution in Taylorsville, N.C., was dismissed for “grossly inefficient” job performance in April amid an investigation into the death of inmate Michael Anthony Kerr. Correction officials found Kerr dead in the back of a van March 12 after the inmate was transferred from Alexander to Central Prison in Raleigh. The state medical examiner later found Kerr died of dehydration.

The former captain is one of at least nine Alexander employees fired in the wake of Kerr’s death. At least two others resigned, and the N.C. Department of Public Safety says close to 30 people have been disciplined or demoted in some form. Like Blackburn, many are appealing their dismissals.

Although the hearing is a quasi-judicial process that takes place in a courtroom environment, it is not a trial. Rather, Blackburn was making the case he should not have been fired for Kerr’s death. Others investigating the matter for possible criminal conduct include a federal grand jury and the State Bureau of Investigation, which is overseen by the same administrative department as the prison system.

Corrections officials say Blackburn violated policy and demonstrated poor judgment when he left Kerr, who suffered from schizoaffective disorder, confined in handcuffs for five days in solitary confinement, where the inmate had been segregated for more than a month.

“Yes he was an inmate, but he was a human being,” Assistant Attorney General Tamika Henderson, arguing for the state, said. “It comes down to fact that while in control of the Department of Public Safety, a man died after being handcuffed for five days in a segregation cell sitting in his own urine and feces.” (more…)

NC inmate’s death shows need for prison review

kerrFrom News and Observer

When a convict goes to prison, he loses his freedom, but he does not lose his humanity. And he should not lose his life.

Michael Anthony Kerr lost all. The 53-year-old former Army sergeant who had a mental illness died March 12 while being transported from the Alexander Correctional Institution in Taylorsville to Central Prison in Raleigh. He was being taken to Raleigh for medical treatment after spending his last five days in solitary confinement, handcuffed and lying unresponsive in his own waste.

Kerr’s sister, Brenda Liles, who had taken her concerns about her brother’s well-being to top prison officials, said, “They treated him like a dog.”

Now the state Department of Public Safety is treating the public like Kerr’s death is none of its business. The department gave minimal assistance to the medical examiner doing the autopsy, and Secretary of Public Safety Frank Perry has declined to discuss the facts of the case . (more…)

NC agencies lock down info on inmate’s death from dehydration

kerrFrom News and Observer

Michael Anthony Kerr spent the last five days of his life handcuffed in a prison cell, unresponsive, off his mental health medicine, and lying in his feces and urine. An hour or two before the former Army sergeant died, officials at Alexander Correctional Institution put him into a wheelchair and drove him 2-1/2 hours east to a prison hospital in Raleigh.

When Kerr, 53, arrived at Central Prison, his body was cold.

Somewhere between Taylorsville and Raleigh, as the prison vehicle passed emergency rooms at eight hospitals, Kerr died of dehydration.

“They treated him like a dog,” said Brenda Liles, his sister.

The state Department of Public Safety has released almost no information to the public on Kerr’s March 12 death. Secretary of Public Safety Frank Perry declined to discuss the facts of the case but said he called in the State Bureau of Investigation to look into the death. (more…)

Mentally ill North Carolina inmate held in solitary confinement dies of thirst

michael_kerr_webMedical Examiner’s Office said Anthony Michael Kerr died of severe dehydration in March of this year

From The Guardian

A North Carolina inmate with mental illness who had been held in solitary confinement died of thirst, according to an autopsy report released Thursday.

Anthony Michael Kerr, 53, was found unresponsive in the back of a van on 12 March after being driven roughly three hours from Alexander Correctional Institution in Taylorsville to a mental hospital at Central Prison in Raleigh.

The North Carolina Department of Public Safety subsequently fired a captain and four nurses at Alexander. A nurse and a staff psychologist resigned.

At the time, Public Safety Secretary Frank L Perry pledged an “an aggressive, yet thorough internal investigation” into Kerr’s death. However, nearly nine months later the agency has not made public any results of that probe.

In the North Carolina Medical Examiner’s Office report, pathologist Dr Lauren Scott says a senior prison official allowed a “witnessed review” of an internal review into Kerr’s death, though the medical examiner’s office was not permitted to keep a copy. Scott wrote that the report left unanswered key details about the circumstances leading to Kerr’s death, including when the inmate last had access to food and water. (more…)

“His eyes had a far-off stare: New details on inmate’s death

michael_kerr_webBy Billy Ball

From The Indy

Handcuffed in a cell for six days, covered in his own feces, without food and water: That is how Michael Anthony Kerr spent the final days of his life, according to a letter written by a former Alexander Correctional Institution inmate who shared a cell block in solitary confinement with the now-deceased prisoner.

This month, the INDY reported that Kerr, a 53-year-old Sampson County man with a long criminal record and a history of mental illness, died during the two-and-a-half-hour trip from Alexander Correctional in Taylorsville to Central Prison in Raleigh on March 12. Prior to his death, Kerr had spent more than a month in solitary confinement.

The letter, dated April 1, from an inmate, whose identity is being withheld by the INDY to protect his safety, offers new details on Kerr’s death. (The inmate’s letter has been edited by the INDY for clarity.)

The INDY wrote to the prisoner but received no response. The inmate, who has a lengthy criminal history as well as dozens of prison infractions for fighting and disobeying orders, had recently been transferred to another prison.

“When I came onto the block with Mr. Kerr, he was not eating,” the inmate wrote. “He was using the bathroom on himself, laying in feces. … Sergeant was saying, ‘Look at his pants halfway down. His butt is out. Look at his crusty feet.'” (more…)

Breaking: New Evidence of Neglect and Abuse in the Death of NC Prisoner Michael Kerr


michael_kerr_webThe following letter was part of a correspondence between a regular anarchist prison news bulletin and a prisoner who was eye (and ear) witness to the events leading up to the death of Michael Kerr. The prisoner’s name has been redacted to protect them from backlash from the administration. Kerr died in (perhaps, up to now) mysterious circumstances en route between Alexander CI and Central Prison. The NC DPS, after initially saying there would be no investigation, has now said there will be. A scanned image of the letter can be seen below.

This is XXXX XXXXXXX, and I am being housed at Alexander CI [in Taylorsville, NC]. I’m writing about the oppression, racism, and injustices that are going on here at Alexander. You’ve got officers and sergeants that will go out of their way to harass you or misuse their authority, that will instigate or provoke inmates to get them on the segregated unit where they will jump you. If you write the superintendent he will do nothing about the injustices that are going on here.

I have also written prison legal services (NCPLS) about a murder I witnessed. I hope you can let somebody know what happened to this mental health inmate, Michael Kerr. (more…)

A second resignation in inmate death case

anti_police_graffitiFrom Indy Week

Update: Wednesday morning at 10:24: The N.C. Department of Public Safety announced this morning that five people have been fired in addition to the two resignations discussed in this story, for a total of seven correctional employees.

Asecond prison worker at Alexander Correctional Institution in Taylorsville has resigned after an inmate died while being transported to Central Prison in Raleigh for medical and mental health care.

N.C. Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Pam Walker said Monday that the prison employee, whom she declined to name, was under department investigation after the death of Michael Anthony Kerr, a 54-year-old felon with a history of mental illness. The latest resignation comes roughly a week after another Alexander Correctional worker stepped down while under investigation. Walker said no criminal charges have been filed against those unidentified workers as of Monday.

Kerr was found unresponsive upon arrival at Central Prison on March 12 and resuscitation efforts failed, prison officials said. In the month prior to his death, Kerr had been held in solitary confinement in Alexander Correctional. According to his family, he was no longer taking his medicine and his mental health had been deteriorating rapidly inside the isolated cell.

“I think he died in that hole,” his wife, Katrenia Robinson of Fayetteville, told the INDY. Family members who viewed his body said Kerr appeared to have been beaten or starved. (more…)

Inmate dead on arrival at Central Prison in Raleigh

michael_kerr_webFrom Indy Week/

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…)