Louisiana jail guard pleads guilty in connection to inmate’s death

Nimali Henry was 19 when she died in a Louisiana jail after making numerous pleas for medical attention. Four jail guards have been charged in connection to her death with one pleading guilty this week. Photo courtesy of Justice for Nimali Henry/Facebook

Sept. 19 (UPI) — A former Louisiana jail guard pleaded guilty to ignoring the severe medical condition of a 19-year-old female inmate that eventually caused her death, U.S. attorneys announced Tuesday.

Timothy Williams was a guard at the St. Bernard Parish Jail in St. Bernard Parish, La. when Nimali Henry was an inmate there in 2014. Williams admitted to denying medical care to Henry, who was being held in pre-trial detention and had not been convicted of a crime.

Henry suffered from more than one life-threatening condition, including Graves’ disease, which can normally be easily treated but can lead to death if left untreated.

Henry told Williams and other jail guards that she was suffering from dizziness and that she hadn’t taken her heart medication in more than a week during the 10 days she was in St. Bernard Parish Jail before her death on April 1, 2014.

But when Henry and several other inmates asked Williams and at least three other guards for help on numerous occasions, those pleas were ignored, despite her worsening condition.

Instead of getting medical help, Williams and two other guards — Debra Becnel and Lisa Vaccarella — moved Henry to a brightly lit, isolated holding cell that he admitted was to discourage Henry from making more complaints about her medical condition, according to court documents.

“Williams deliberately deprived the victim of necessary medical attention, resulting in her death,” Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore said in a statement. “Williams admittedly violated federal law and his sworn duty as a corrections officer to adequately care for and protect the constitutional rights of an inmate under his supervision.”

Williams admitted to intentionally depriving Henry of her civil rights and faces a life sentence. His sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 16, 2019.

Williams is one of three jail guards who have been charged in connection to Henry’s death.

The other three — Becnel, Vaccarella and Andre Dominick — face trial Nov. 5.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here