The mother of the man who jumped from a second-floor balcony at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center, which he says he did to save his life, told NBC 6 Wednesday that she is planning to file legal action against the county.
Kenneth Williams’ mother Alethea Howard and her attorney say they get that the jail isn’t a country club, but say that an inmate like Williams shouldn't have a death sentence there either.
Howard said when she initially received a call in June about her son coming out of his cell and then jumping over a second-floor railing, she feared he would die from his injuries. Another one of her sons died after being shot while in his car in Miami.
"The police never did anything about that either. They just hid that under the rug too,” Howard said. “So that's why when they told me about my son I tried to reach out to him."
In the video obtained by The Miami Herald, Williams, who was being held on a witness tampering charge, is seen jumping on June 14. He said he did so to escape from inmates coming after him with makeshift knives after cell doors opened.
His mother said Miami-Dade Corrections hasn't lived up to its responsibility to provide a reasonable level of safety.
"I feel like corrections really don't care. They are not trying to do anything to prevent it because I had been calling out there since 2009 asking for my sons to have protective custody because of the accusations and the things, the death threats, stuff like that,” Howard said. “I feel we do need to take legal action. We just want justice."
Internal corrections department reports NBC 6 obtained show guards saying that the computer system controlling the cell doors shut down and the doors in unit K8-1 then came open. That's when Williams says the inmates came after him.
Williams’ attorney Jean-Claude Dugue said corrections was aware of the trouble with the cell doors. Williams said Wednesday the doors had malfunctioned three or four times in the last several months.
“Right behind each other. Right behind each other,” he said. “Everybody know that everybody know they was going to – like all the inmates knew it was going to happen again ‘cause we just used to it happening."
His mother stated, "Hearing what's going on now and they're saying that corrections could have (been) part of it, I believe it could be true."
Howard said that while one of her sons is about to graduate from college, it’s her twins – both in the county correctional system – who have become targets. She said the brothers had opened their own company in an effort to keep their lives in the right direction before allegedly violating their probations.
“We try to do the right thing,” Howard said.
The corrections department has said that what happened at the facility is under investigation and they are trying to get to the bottom of it, and don't have anything else to say about it at this point.
Court records for Williams show him being arrested for several felonies in the past but some of the cases were dropped. He has pleaded not guilty to the witness tampering charge.
Dugue said that when he completes his research he will notify the county officially of their pending litigation.
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