A father searches for answers after his son died on the day he was supposed to be released from prison
A grieving father says he wants to know what led to his 22-year-old son’s death on the day he was supposed to be released from an Alabama correctional facility.
Daniel Terry Williams died Nov. 9 after his family took him off life support following what the Alabama Department of Corrections described as a “possible inmate-on-inmate assault.”
The department told CNN in a statement that Williams was serving a one-year prison sentence for theft of property out of Jefferson County.
Prison officials reported the possible assault on Oct. 22 at Staton Correctional Facility in Elmore County, Alabama, according to the Alabama Department of Corrections.
Williams was taken to the health care unit for treatment and observation by medical staff after he was found “unresponsive in his residence,” according to the Department of Corrections.
Later, the decision was made to transfer him to hospital “for further evaluation and treatment,” the statement said.
Daniel’s father, Terry Williams, told CNN that he learned his son was in the hospital when his stepdaughter received a phone call on October 25 from the director of Staton Correctional Facility, Joseph Headley.
When he called the warden to find out what happened, Headley allegedly told him that Daniel “appeared to have overdosed,” Williams said.
When Williams saw his son at Jackson Hospital in Montgomery, he told CNN he “cursed” at the prison guard, believing the prison guard had lied to him.
“Anyone could look at Daniel and tell him he’s not lying on his deathbed from an overdose,” Williams said.
“The sheriff told Terry that Daniel was in the hospital for a drug overdose,” Andrew Minifie, the attorney representing Terry Williams, told CNN. “The prison warden did not mention anything regarding physical or sexual assault on Daniel.”
“He had bruises all over his body, cuts, and there were holes in his head. It looked like they took a mop handle or something and hit him in the head with it. He was in bad shape,” Williams said.
Williams explained that the doctor told him that while he was not officially brain dead, he had “lost 90% of his brain” and would not recover.
CNN reached out to Staton Correctional Facility for comment from the warden and was asked to contact the Alabama Department of Corrections. The Department of Corrections said its Law Enforcement Services Division opened an investigation into the incident
CNN reached out to the department and Jackson Hospital regarding Terry Williams’ allegations but did not receive a response.
Williams said that while visiting his son, he sometimes noticed that Daniel was handcuffed to the bed and being monitored by five corrections officers. “It was very difficult to go in there and look at it that way and see (the officers) sitting there playing on their phones knowing that this nonsense is still going on. terrible.”
After holding conversations with inmates at the correctional facility, Williams said he believes his son was attacked before he was taken to the hospital.
Lawyer: The inmate may have been sexually assaulted
Menefee told CNN that he ordered a rape kit performed on Daniel at the hospital because he believed Daniel had been sexually assaulted.
“We were hearing it in the comments of the nurses and doctors at the hospital who described seeing bruises on the inside of Daniel’s legs. They said his skin was black and bruised, and they had never seen so much bruising, and they said it was clear he had been sexually assaulted and raped.
Menefee told CNN he received an email from the Department of Corrections confirming the test request and it was scheduled for October 31. “I have not received confirmation that it was done nor have I received any results from that test,” Menefee told CNN. He added.
Williams said that whenever he questioned the warden, he was told “he was under investigation.”
Williams also said he received conflicting timelines from inmates and the warden about what happened to his son.
On November 5, Williams said the family decided to withdraw their son from life support.
He was then transferred to Kilby Correctional Facility for “long-term comfort care,” where he died four days later, according to the Alabama Department of Corrections.
Daniel had two children under the age of two, son Hayden and daughter Danielle.
Terry Williams said Daniel was hardworking and was trying to do the right thing by completing his sentence.
“He was a simple, loving child…He had two children that he took care of before he got locked up again and everything. “He was trying to do the right thing,” Williams said.
Williams said he wants justice for his son and hopes no one else has to go through such an ordeal.
“I just want everyone to know what’s going on in there and to stop all this violence in these prisons,” Williams noted. “We’re sending them there to get help and do their time, not to go out in a coffin.”
CNN’s Ashley R. Williams and Morayo Ogunbayo contributed to this report.
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