Inmate's Family Demands Answers

Tuesday, February 17, 2009 - 10:05pm

The family of an Iberia inmate found dead in his holding cell Friday is demanding a separate autopsy and investigation be launched.

“This man was murdered. He was beaten in his house, taken to a so called hospital, brought to Iberia Parish, and then beaten again,” a spokesman for the family said Monday.

The family of 43 year old Michael Jones, spent the day picketing outside the Abbeville Police Department. Abbeville Councilman Reverend Wayne Landry has pledged to support the family.

“They say that when he left their home he was alive, and when he got to New Iberia something happened. They’re just trying to clear up what happened,” Landry said.

Jones was arrested by Abbeville Police early Friday morning. A spokesman with Iberia Parish Sheriff’s office said Jones was taken to Abbeville General before being booked into Iberia Sheriffs Correctional Center.

"He was sweating profusely. They said he was jumping up and down in the processing area. He had taken off his clothes, and they noticed evidently he may have beaten his head on the door because there was blood inside the door," Cpl. Wendell Raborn said.

Deputies say they opened the door to get him medical attention for a second time.

"When they opened the door, he immediately jumped and grabbed the shift lieutenant that was opening the door. The Warden tried to help, and he grabbed hold of the inmate. The inmate then bit him," Raborn said.

Deputies say they wrestled him to the ground, nurses checked him out, and he was moved to a separate cell where he eventually calmed down.

At around 2:00 p.m. Iberia Parish officials went to check on Mr. Jones, and that's when they found he was not breathing.

"The sheriff has contacted state police because there were allegations of abuse or a possible cover up. We will gladly turn over everything. We have nothing to hide," Raborn said.

Abbeville Police Chief Rick Coleman refused to comment on the case at this time.