Coronavirus Deaths Mount In Alabama Prisons

 1537706726 
1608285628

A view from outside Julia Tutwiler Prison, Wetumpka, Alabama.

Dan Carsen, WBHM

Coronavirus cases continue to surge in Alabama prisons, with corrections officials announcing a number of inmate deaths in recent weeks.

Between Aug. 27 and Dec. 16, the Alabama Department of Corrections reported 29 inmates had died while positive for COVID 19, bringing the total number of inmate deaths associated with the virus to 50. These are the inmates who have died since late August.

Jimmy Carl James, 75, who was serving life without the possibility of parole after being convicted of rape in Franklin County, died Dec. 15. James was imprisoned at Donaldson Correctional Facility in Bessemer. He suffered from multiple preexisting medical conditions. He was transferred to a local hospital Dec. 10 after exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 and remained there after testing positive until he died.

Farris Burrell, 83, who was serving life without the possibility of parole for a Jefferson County murder, died Dec. 15 at a hospital near Hamilton Aged and Infirmed. Burrell, who suffered from multiple preexisting medical conditions, was transferred to the local hospital Dec. 6 after exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. Upon admission, he tested positive for the disease. He remained under the care of the hospital until his death.

Herbert Kenneth Atwell, 88, who was convicted of murder in Dale County and serving a life sentence at Hamilton Aged and Infirmed, died Dec. 13. Atwell, who suffered from multiple preexisting medical conditions, was transferred to a local hospital on December 2 after exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. He tested positive for the disease and remained in the hospital until he died.

Jack Harold Wilson, 75, serving a 20-year sentence for a Cullman County assault conviction, died Dec. 10 at Bibb Correctional Facility in Brent. Wilson, who suffered from multiple preexisting medical conditions, was asymptomatic and voluntarily tested for COVID-19 during the expanded testing at the facility. Wilson was transferred Dec. 2 to a local hospital for additional care, where he remained for a week until discharged back to the prison for palliative care. He died in the prison infirmary.

Gregory Allan Brown, 61, who had been serving a life without the possibility of parole sentence at St. Clair Correctional Facility in Springville for a Jefferson County murder case, died Dec. 9. Brown suffered from multiple preexisting medical conditions and was transferred to a local hospital Nov. 28 for additional care after exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. He tested positive and remained in the hospital until he died.

Glenn Nelson Anderson, 73, died Dec. 8 in the infirmary of Hamilton Aged and Infirmed. Anderson, who was serving a 23-year sentence for burglary out of Madison County, had been moved to level-two quarantine following close contact with an inmate who previously had tested positive for COVID-19. Because Anderson had preexisting health issues, he was tested for coronavirus Nov. 23, then moved into medical isolation within the facility’s infirmary until his death.

Robert Williams, 78, died Dec. 7. Williams was convicted of manslaughter in Talladega County and serving a 16-year sentence for manslaughter at Hamilton Aged and Infirmed. He suffered from multiple preexisting medical conditions, and after showing symptoms of COVID-19, he was transferred to a hospital on Nov. 29 for additional care. He tested positive and died in the hospital.

John Fortenberry Jr., a 77-year-old convicted rapist, died Dec. 7 in a hospital near Bibb Correctional Facility in Brent, where he had been serving a 99-year sentence for crime committed in Bibb County. Fortenberry, who suffered from multiple preexisting medical conditions, was admitted to the local hospital Nov. 26 for treatment of an unrelated medical condition. Upon admission, he tested positive for COVID-19.

Floyd Stephen Whiteside, 70, who was convicted in Etowah County and serving a 20-year sentence at Hamilton Aged and Infirmed for sexual abuse of a child less than 12 years old, died Dec. 4. Whiteside was in the infirmary for treatment of his end-stage, preexisting medical conditions. The autopsy report concluded that Whiteside was COVID-19 positive at the time of his death.

David Lewis Moore, 63, died Dec. 3. Moore was serving a life sentence for manslaughter out of Jefferson County at Limestone Correctional Facility in Harvest. Suffering from multiple preexisting medical conditions, Moore was transferred to a local hospital Nov.  24 for additional care after showing symptoms of COVID-19. After his positive diagnosis, he remained in the hospital until he died.

Jesse Burrell Jr., 56, who was serving a life sentence for robbery out of Madison County at Hamilton Aged and Infirmed, died Dec. 1. Burrell had been under advanced treatment in the prison infirmary for end-stage preexisting medical conditions until he died. His coronavirus infection was revealed by autopsy.

Walter Lee McCoy, 94, who was serving a 20-year sentence for manslaughter out of Jefferson County at Hamilton Aged and Infirmed, died Nov. 30. He had been undergoing advanced treatment in the prison infirmary for end-stage, preexisting medical conditions until his death. The autopsy revealed he had been COVID-19 positive.

Jeffery Bailey, 58, who was convicted of five counts of robbery in Jefferson County and serving a life-without-parole sentence at St. Clair Correctional, died Nov. 27. Bailey was housed in St. Clair’s infirmary for ongoing treatment of his end-stage, preexisting medical conditions. The autopsy revealed that Bailey was COVID-19 positive when he died.

David Beech, 64, convicted of a Mobile County murder, was serving a life without the possibility of parole sentence at St. Clair Correctional until he died Oct. 31. He had been in the facility’s infirmary for advanced treatment for end-stage, preexisting medical conditions. An autopsy revealed he was COVID positive.

Danny Joe Mann, 66, was serving a 20-year sentence for discharging a firearm into a school bus or school building in Marshall County, died Nov. 23. Mann was an inmate at Hamilton Community Based-Facility/Community Work Center. He suffered from multiple preexisting medical conditions and was transferred to a local hospital on the day he died after exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. He died after hospital tests confirmed he was COVID positive.

Ash-Shakur Halim Shabazz, 60, was serving a 26-year sentence for rape and sodomy out of Houston County when he died Nov. 20. Shabazz, who suffered from multiple preexisting medical conditions, had been housed at Limestone Correctional, before being transferred to a local hospital on the day he died for additional care because of COVID-19 symptoms. He was found to be COVID positive.

Lassalee Minnifield, 73, died Nov. 10 while serving three life sentences and a 50-year sentence at Bullock Correctional Facility in Union Springs for rape out of Jefferson County. Minnifield, who suffered from multiple preexisting medical conditions, was tested for COVID-19 on Nov. 4 after exhibiting symptoms of the disease. “Upon returning a positive test result, Minnifield was moved to level-three quarantine, or medical isolation, within Bullock’s infirmary. Upon his condition worsening, he was transferred to a local hospital for additional care on Nov. 9. He remained under the care of the local hospital until his passing,” ADOC reported.

Norman Clark Gangle, 66, who was serving a 20-year sentence for first-degree sodomy out of St. Clair County, died Nov. 8 after getting infected with COVID-19.  Gangle, imprisoned at Hamilton Aged and Infirmed, suffered from multiple advanced-stage medical conditions. On the day he died, he had been admitted to a local hospital after exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.

Frank Johnson, 81, convicted of first degree rape in Escambia County, was serving a 10-year sentence at St. Clair Correctional when he died Nov. 5. Johnson, who had multiple chronic preexisting medical conditions, was transferred from the prison infirmary to a local hospital on July 7 after testing positive for COVID-19 at the facility. “Inmate Johnson was presumed recovered when his condition improved and was released from the local hospital. Johnson remained in St. Clair’s infirmary for advanced treatment for his end-stage preexisting medical conditions,” but he died COVID-19 positive, authorities said.

Paul Bryan Young, 52, died Nov. 4 at a hospital near Bibb Correctional after a positive COVID diagnosis. Young was serving a life sentence for murder and a 20-year sentence for attempted murder out of Mobile County. He suffered from multiple preexisting medical conditions, and after his positive coronavirus test, he was moved to level-three quarantine, or medical isolation, at Bibb. Upon his condition worsening, he was transferred Nov. 2 to a local hospital, where he died.

Albert Edward Mendel Jr., 66, who was serving a 38-year sentence for first-degree sodomy out of Marshall County at Limestone Correctional, died Oct. 29. Before he died, Mendel had been under hospice care in Limestone’s infirmary, but was put in medical isolation Sept. 28 after testing positive for coronavirus. On Oct. 9 he was sent to a local hospital, where he died.

Johnny Dwight Terry, 74, died Oct. 8 at a local hospital, where he had tested positive for COVID-19. Terry had been serving a life sentence for murder out of Lawrence County at Limestone Correctional. He had multiple preexisting medical conditions, and he was transferred to a local hospital after exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. He died two days later.

Timothy Lindsey Bearry, 65, died Oct. 5 while serving a life sentence for first-degree sexual abuse and theft of property out of Jefferson County. He was incarcerated at Ventress Correctional Facility in Clayton when he tested positive for COVID-19. He was being treated for an advanced terminal illness when he was sent to a local hospital on Sept. 11. Bearry was being transferred from the hospital to Kilby Correctional in Montgomery for palliative care but died in route.

Willie Bernard Collins, 67, was serving a life sentence for murder out of Mobile County at Staton Correctional Facility in Elmore, when he died Oct. 1. Housed in Staton’s infirmary due to multiple preexisting health conditions, Collins tested positive for COVID-19 on June 11. At the time, he was placed in medical isolation, but his condition worsened and he was transferred to a local hospital on July 31. He remained in the hospital until he died.

James Pruitt Jr., 63, died Sept. 16 while serving a life sentence at St. Clair Correctional for a Mobile County murder. Pruitt was transferred to a local hospital Aug. 4 because he had multiple chronic, preexisting health conditions. He was not showing symptoms of COVID-19 but was tested upon entering the hospital and was positive. His condition improved and he was returned from the hospital to St. Clair’s infirmary Aug. 19. Then his condition worsened, and he was readmitted to the hospital Aug. 22. He remained there until he died.

Christopher Nalls, 59, died Sept. 10 at a hospital near Hamilton Community-Based Facility/Community Work Center. Nalls was serving a 15-year sentence for theft of property out of Fayette County. He suffered from multiple preexisting health conditions and was transferred to the hospital Aug. 31 for care unrelated to COVID-19. At the hospital he tested negative for the virus. His condition improved and he was discharged from the hospital Sept. 4. But then he his condition worsened, and he was sent back to the hospital, dying the same day. Post-mortem testing indicated he was COVID-19 positive at that time.

John Paul Dejnozka, 76, died Sept. 9 at a hospital near Holman Correctional Facility, where he was serving 830 years on 17 crimes, including rape, assault with intent to maim, burglary and assault with intent to ravish, all in Madison County. After testing positive for COVID-19, Dejnozka went into level-three quarantine. When his condition worsened, he was sent to a local hospital, where he later died.

Jonathan Mallory, 33, who was serving a 20-year sentence for first-degree assault and a 25-year sentence for first-degree robbery out of Calhoun County, died Aug. 27. Mallory, who was imprisoned at Fountain Correctional Facility in Atmore, was admitted July 10 to a local hospital for treatment of an unrelated medical condition. He tested first negative, then positive for COVID-19 and remained in the hospital until his death.

Scottie Alton Johnson, 45, was serving a life sentence for murder and a 10-year sentence for assault out of Houston County when he died Aug. 1. Johnson was incarcerated at Bullock Correctional and suffered from preexisting medical conditions. He was sent to a local hospital July 31 for care “ostensibly unrelated to COVID-19,” ADOC reported, and a coronavirus test returned negative results. However, after he died, the autopsy report revealed that Johnson had died from complications of COVID-19. ADOC reported Johnson’s death Oct. 16.

ADOC’s COVID-19 Dashboard notes that 48 inmates had died through Dec. 14. The deaths of Jimmy James and Farris Burrell the next day brings the total inmate deaths to 50. As of the most recent report, ADOC said 1,068 total cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed among the inmate population, 76 of which remain active.

Previous inmate COVID-related deaths were reported in an earlier BirminghamWatch story.

 

There Were More Deaths Than Births In Alabama Last Year, A Grim First For The State

Alabama's top health official says the state has "literally shrunk." According to preliminary data, it saw 64,714 total deaths and 57,641 births in 2020.

Yes, It Is Safe To Get The COVID And Flu Vaccines At The Same Time

Alabama is gearing up for flu season. Health professionals say it's okay to get the COVID-19 vaccine in conjunction with the flu vaccine.

Hoyt Leaves Legacy In District Eight After Sixteen Years

For the last sixteen years, Birmingham City Councilor Steven Hoyt has represented areas like Ensley, West End and Five Points West. But Hoyt will leave office next month after choosing not to run for reelection. His last meeting is October 19.

Bridging The Empathy Gap Between Birmingham Schools And The Community

The interactive art exhibit “All In” put viewers in the shoes of Ramsay High School students.

JeffCo Employees Getting 3% Raises In Budget Passed Thursday

The Jefferson County Commission unanimously passed a $882,750,611 budget last week. It includes a 3% across-the-board raise for county employees.

Birmingham Applies For Grants To Beef Up Surveillance, Readies To Open Real-Time Crime Center

The city of Birmingham will apply for a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to purchase and maintain license plate readers in an effort “to improve the [Birmingham Police Department’s] response to violent crime.”

More Coronavirus Coverage