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March 4, 2013

Ex-OSP guards in court on inmate death

McALESTER — The three Oklahoma State Penitentiary guards appeared in court Feb. 22 after being charged in the death of an OSP inmate who started a fire in his cell. David Anderson, 56; David Willis, 29, and Jay Nair, 46, all of McAlester, were charged Feb. 1 in Pittsburg County District Court with one felony count of second degree manslaughter and one misdemeanor count of willful neglect to perform duty.

The charges against Willis, Nair and Anderson were filed after the Oklahoma Department of Corrections internal affairs division investigated the July 28 death of OSP inmate Julius J. Parker, 26.

The charges allege the three guards “effected” the death of Parker “by culpable negligence in failing to perform their duties as correctional officers, including but not limited to checking on inmate Julius Parker’s welfare and failing to determine cause of smoke coming from his cell.”

The inmate wasn’t removed from his cell for more than an hour after OSP employees first saw the smoke and later died due to smoke inhalation.

All three former OSP workers are scheduled to appear back in court June 3 at 9 a.m. for a preliminary hearing.

The DOC public information officer Jerry Massie has confirmed that Anderson and Nair resigned from OSP in August and Willis was terminated in September.

Anderson had worked at OSP since 1991, Massie said. Nair was hired in 2007 and Willis in 2006. Three other OSP employees were terminated as a result of the incident but have not charged.

Agents with the DOC internal affairs division interviewed OSP employees, and four were terminated: Jerry Hunt, Beatrice Glover and Larry Jiles.

According to court records, Parker ignited a fire in his cell on H Unit at OSP on July 28. At 1:29 p.m. that day, smoke became visible to OSP’s surveillance cameras. “At (1:38 p.m.), Correctional Officers David Anderson and Jay Nair went to Parker’s cell to investigate the smoke,” court documents state. “No other personnel went to the door of Parker’s cell until 2:24 p.m.,” court records state.

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