COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - City officials are filing a motion to have a lawsuit dropped that claims the “indifference” of Muscogee County Sheriff Donna Tompkins and other sheriff’s office officials led to the beating death of an inmate.
The family of Eddie Nelson Jr. filed a wrongful death lawsuit just three days after their loved one was beaten to death, allegedly by his cellmate at the Muscogee County Jail, Jayvon Hatchett.
Hatchett was being held in the jail following an incident in which he stabbed an Auto Zone employee. In his initial court appearance, it was stated that Hatchett confessed to police that he stabbed the white employee after watching hours of videos of police officers shooting Black people on social media, leading to him developing an urge to kill a white person.
The lawsuit claims that because Hatchett previously stated he wanted to kill a white person, he should not have been placed in the same cell as Nelson, who was white.
Sheriff Tompkins reports that neither she nor anyone in her department knew of the potential threat Hatchett posed to his cellmate.
The lawsuit claims that the sheriff should have known after those statements were picked up by local news media and “became viral on social media.” The motion to have the lawsuit dropped claims that these and many other allegations made in the suit are conclusory and have not been proved.
The attorney representing the defendants says there are no facts in the allegations.
Nelson’s family attorney, Craig Jones, says they are trying to get those facts.
:“They’re filing a motion to dismiss, saying we don’t have the facts, but they’ve also filed a motion to keep us from getting the facts. So, that’s kind of heavy handed, but unfortunately it’s very common in these kinds of cases and we just have to let the process play out,” said Jones.
A second motion filed on behalf of the defendants in this case requests a pause on discovery by the defense while the motion to dismiss is pending.
At this time, neither the motion to dismiss the lawsuit or the motion to halt discovery have been approved.