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Jail killing spurs inquiry

Posted in Related Deaths
4-6-2009 Kentucky:

COVINGTON - As most Sundays are at the Kenton County jail, March 29 was quiet. Inmates lounged in bed because there were no court hearings or visitations scheduled.

It was sometime during that quiet time that Isaac Jackson, a 40-year-old homeless man, was strangled in bed.

He wasn't found until jail deputies rushed to the cell to fix an overflowing toilet at 12:30 p.m. While authorities have not released an estimated time of death, officials have said they think Jackson was killed that morning.

It is the first killing authorities can recall happening in a Northern Kentucky jail - including Boone, Campbell and Grant counties - in at least two decades, Kenton County Police Chief Ed Butler said.

Cellmate Marion Lawson Parker II, who goes by Timmy, later confessed to the killing, Butler said. Jackson is the second man Parker is charged with strangling to death. The first was the Jan. 31 killing of Shawn Davis, 28, of Covington.

Details of Parker's confession are expected to be made public at the defendant's preliminary hearing, set for Tuesday in Kenton District Court.

Parker told investigators that he killed Jackson because the man made sexual advances toward him in a unit they shared with four other inmates, Butler said. Parker claims the advances were made as the pair smoked tobacco that Jackson had smuggled into the jail.

The six inmates were in a unit, made up of two cells with two double bunk beds, that open into a dayroom. The other four inmates said they didn't hear the strangulation because they were asleep in the two cells while Jackson slept in the dayroom on a cot, according to investigators. There is no security camera in the cell and its many corners make it hard for deputy jailers to see everything going on inside, officials say.

Investigators have found at least two towels that could have been used to strangle Jackson, Butler said. One was near the cot in which Jackson was found. The other was recovered from the jail's plumbing after being flushed down one of the unit's toilets, causing the overflow.

The jail's chief deputy, Col. Scott Colvin, said there is an internal affairs inquiry into whether all jail policies were followed, in addition to trying to determine how the tobacco was smuggled in.

It will be the job of two captains conducting the internal investigation to determine if those policies were followed by the staff, Colvin said. That will include determining whether deputy jailers did proper head counts through the day that might have uncovered Jackson's body before the toilet overflowed.

"In any event, the jailer intends to address any issues brought forth by our internal review and will disclose those findings," Colvin said. "We work hard at transparency in this agency."

While the killing also remains under investigation, Butler said Parker didn't implicate the other four people he shared the unit with in the killing.

Two of the people in the cell were accused killers Toshawn Sims and Brian Golsby. Sims is charged with murder and burglary in the 2006 killing of Michael Kidd. Golsby is charged with murder in the March killing of Travis White.

The remaining two were Josh Pillow, charged with unlawful imprisonment, and Raymond Luke, charged with burglary and criminal mischief.

Jackson had been arrested March 27 after Covington police found him hanging clothes on signs and bushes in Goebel Park, according to a police report. Jackson was charged with a misdemeanor after giving a false name.

Colvin said Parker was housed with the two accused killers because of his criminal record and institutional history. Jackson has been arrested 29 times, including a more than 10-year sentence for aggravated felony robbery in Ohio. His other convictions included aggravated menacing, aggravated stalking, forgery, felony theft and receiving stolen property.

Parker has since been moved to one of the jail's 16 single cells. Under Kentucky's "Safe Keeping Law," Colvin said, he has requested that the state corrections department take custody of Parker as he awaits trial. Colvin said the state prison system is better equipped to handle violent inmates.

Pillow has since been bailed out of jail. Simms, Luke and Golsby remain locked up with other inmates at the same custody level.

It was overcrowding at the jail that forced officials to place six inmates in a unit with only two double bunk beds. Jackson and another inmate were sleeping on cots.

A new Kenton County jail is expected to open in October 2010 at a cost of $41 million. It will have 540 beds. On Friday afternoon, there were 466 inmates in the jail, a facility designed for 348.

Parker and Jackson still could have been housed together at the new jail. They would have been in a dormitory-style unit with 68 other inmates and one deputy jailer inside the unit with the inmates, Colvin said.

The new jail's design is called "new generation direct supervision" and is considered by criminal justice experts as cutting edge. ..News Source.. by Jim Hannah

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