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Lawsuit: Guards didn’t stop suicide of inmate held too long

October 2, 2019 GMT

The heirs of a man who died by suicide in a rural Mississippi jail are suing, blaming officials for holding the man 54 days when he was supposed to be jailed for two days.

The heirs say guards didn’t watch Robert Wayne Johnson closely even after discovering he’d sliced open his wrists in an apparent suicide attempt.

The suit was filed Monday in federal court in Jackson against Kemper County, Sheriff James Moore and jail employees.

It says Johnson was sentenced to jail in late November 2017. However, Johnson was still jailed in early January when guards found him hanged by his shoelaces. The suit says Johnson had been exhibiting suicidal behavior in days before his death, but alleges guards didn’t put Johnson on suicide watch, disobeying written jail policies.