ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WAVY) — Families of prison workers killed following a 2017 escape attempt at Pasquotank Correctional Institute are now suing North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper among other officials and the State Department of Corrections.
According to court documents filed by the families of Veronica Darden, Wendy Shannon, and Justin Smith, Pasquotank Correctional workers brutally killed during the attempted escape, the deaths were “completely preventable.”
The lawsuit cited “severe understaffing and lax, unenforced safety procedures” resulted in the incident that eventually led to the death of the workers.
In all, four people were killed “savagely” with tools the prisoners were able to access like scissors and a claw hammer.
The families blamed the governor and other prison officials for “wholly ineffective security policies, monitoring, training and equipment” that resulted in the incident.
In October of last year, a jury sentenced Mikel Brady, the “pack leader” behind the attack, to death for his role in the escape attempt.
Every jury member chose to sentence Brady to death. In North Carolina, if all jurors are not in unanimous agreement, the defendant is sentenced to life in prison.
The judge decided to accept the jury’s recommendation.
Brady is the first of four inmates facing charges, in this case, to go to trial.