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Family suing jail for wrongful death of family member

The family of an inmate on death row has sued county officials for his wrongful death suicide while being held in Harris County Jail. The death row inmate was in Houston waiting to appeal his conviction. The lawsuit was filed by the victim's mother on behalf of herself, her children and unknown heirs.

In the lawsuit, the victim's mother claims that the county sheriff, county judge and an assistant district attorney tied to her son's case should all be liable for not protecting him and for the "unusual circumstances" surrounding her son's imprisonment in the Harris County Jail.

The lawsuit also names former Assistant District Attorney Lance Long for conspiring "to pressure witnesses to lie about their identification of Mr. Williams as the perpetrator of the capital murder."

A response to the lawsuit is expected to be filed on behalf of the county sheriff, the county and the county judge by the Harris County District Attorney's Office. The District Attorney's Office has not commented on the case yet.

The victim committed suicide in 2015 and should not have had access to the shoelaces he used to hang himself because he was in isolation for 23 hours per day. The lawsuit claims that the victim was on psychotropic medications for depression, but was not supervised by mental health professionals working at the Harris County Jail.

The victim was convicted of the capital murder of two people in 2007. According to reports, the defendant shot 30 rounds into the two victims in relation to a drug ring. After the conviction, two witnesses who originally said the victim was the killer recanted their statements. They claim that they were encouraged to lie by prosecutors even though they identified someone with a completely different appearance than the victim. The witnesses also knew the alleged real killer's name.

The victim was found hanging in a cell on Feb. 19, 2015.

An experienced personal injury attorney can explain your rights during a wrongful death case in Houston, Texas.

Source: Chron, "Family sues in jail suicide of death row inmate who hoped to overturn conviction," Gabrielle Banks, Feb. 22, 2017

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Brian Jensen

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