Coroner wants to re-open inmate death case - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Coroner wants to re-open inmate death case

June 9, 2004

Sylvester - A middle Georgia coroner wants to re-open the case of a Sylvester man who died in police custody.

Thirty-seven-year-old Herman Jackson died in March from a brain injury, but autopsy results showed he had a mixture of alcohol and cocaine in his system.

Former Sylvester Assistant Police Chief Charles Thurmond was accused of not seeking medical attention quickly, but a grand jury found no criminal wrong doing.

Putnam County Coroner Gary McElhenney filed a request to look at reports and evidence. He claims the Worth County Coroner and Deputy Coroner refused to sign Jackson's death certificate, because they work closely with the police department.

Thurmond's attorney, Howard Stiller, says the regional medical examiner should be next in line to sign the death certificate, not a Putnam County coroner.  Stiller says, "There's a saying about going around your elbow to get to your hand and this is a great example of doing it."

McElhenney adds, "The only thing a coroner's inquest is to determine the cause and manner of death, we do not point any fingers of guilt or anything of that sorts, it's merrily an inquiry."

Judge Harvey Davis has granted a temporary restraining order on the inquest and is allowing both McElhenney, who is representing himself, and Stiller to submit briefs.

posted at 5:40PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com