3 Charged in Death of Inmate Denied Water for a Week

Prosecutors say Terrill Thomas was left to die in April 2016
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 13, 2018 10:45 AM CST
3 Charged in Death of Inmate Denied Water for a Week
District Attorney John Chisholm discusses criminal charges against three jail staffers in Milwaukee on Monday.   (AP Photo/Ivan Moreno)

A Wisconsin jail commander and two other staffers face charges after prosecutors say they left an inmate to die. Terrill Thomas, 38, died of dehydration in the solitary confinement unit of Milwaukee County Jail in April 2016 after a week without water. Though the move was against regulation at the jail where seven have died since, Lt. Kashka Meadors ordered correctional officer James Ramsey-Guy to shut off Thomas' water after the inmate flooded another cell, a criminal complaint reads, per the New York Times. After Thomas' death, commander Nancy Evans ordered a review of jail footage and learned the water was shut off and not turned back on, the complaint states, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. But after the footage was overwritten, Evans concealed the information from investigators and her superiors, according to the complaint.

She's charged with felony misconduct in office and obstructing an officer and could face more than four years in jail, per the Times. Meadors, who says she believed Thomas' water was back on the same day it was turned off, is charged with felony neglect of an inmate, as is Ramsey-Guy, who didn't document the shutoff and says he expected another officer to do so, according to the complaint. They each face up to 3.5 years in prison, reports WITI. Previously placed on administrative duty, all three were suspended with pay on Monday. Further disciplinary measures are expected this week. Though charges were previously recommended for four other jail staffers, a district attorney says they're unlikely to come as "we're focusing on the individuals that we think are most responsible." An investigator working with a lawyer representing Thomas' family says members are "elated." (More Wisconsin stories.)

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