A 22-year-old Alabama inmate was left brain dead following a brutal prison assault and died the day he was supposed to be released, leaving his family demanding answers and justice.
Daniel Terry Williams, a father to two young children, was serving a 12-month sentence for second-degree theft when he was attacked Oct. 22 in a “possible inmate-on-inmate assault” at Staton Correctional Facility in Elmore County, the Alabama Department of Corrections said.
He was found “unresponsive in his dorm and was transported to the Health Care Unit,” the corrections department said in a statement. He was then transferred to an area hospital for further evaluation and treatment, officials said.
Terry Williams, Daniel’s father, said that he was told by someone incarcerated at the jail that his son was beaten and sexually assaulted by three other inmates.
“My buddy told me that they got him up, shot him up with a hotshot,” Williams said, referencing heroin.
The corrections department did not respond to queries regarding the drug and sexual assault allegations.
Williams said that his son was assaulted for three days, and the victim’s girlfriend was notified Oct. 25 that he was in the hospital. The corrections department did not disclose how many days the assault lasted or the day he was transferred to the hospital.
“He had bruises, cuts, there was indentions in his head, looked like a mop handle went across his head a couple of times. Before he even got to the hospital, he was already gone,” Williams said. At the hospital, Williams said the family requested a rape examination be completed.
Daniel Williams’ girlfriend, Amber Williams, said she was shocked by the extent of his wounds.
“I went to the hospital and the nurses told me that he was assaulted and beaten really badly. And when I went into the room, had bruises all down his arm, like down to his fingers, he had bruises over here. He had cuts up and down and bruises on his legs. And it was bad,” she told NBC affiliate WVTM of Birmingham.
Williams’ family said doctors told them he had 10% of his brain function.
“That 10% that’s left, all that does is Daniel could breathe and he could open and close his eyes. But he has no clue he’s there, he has no clue you’re there. He can’t see nothing,” his father said.
The family said medical professionals told them Williams could stay on life support, but he’d be bedridden and require around-the-clock care for the rest of his life.
The family decided to take Williams off life support Nov. 5, his father said.
“We pulled the plug on him on Sunday, the following Wednesday they were giving him palliative care. On Wednesday night, is when the warden called and had them move him back to the prison and when he got back to the prison he died apparently,” Williams said.
The corrections department said Williams was transported to Kilby Correctional Facility for “long-term comfort care,” where he subsequently died, but did not specify the date.
It’s not clear though why he was moved to the facility instead of staying in the hospital.
Daniel died Nov. 9 — the day he was supposed to be released, his father said.
Williams says he has retained a lawyer and wants answers about what happened to his son. He believes the facility’s correctional officers and warden were negligent in failing to stop the attack and did not keep his family properly notified about what happened.
“I want to see the warden and the CO’s sitting in a cell and the guys that did that, I want to see them in a chair, electric chair,” he said. “I couldn’t save son, but I want to save the next person. I want this crap to stop.”
Williams said he hasn’t gotten any answers — nor condolences — from the corrections department and has been told only that the matter is under investigation.
The department’s Law Enforcement Services Division is investigating Williams’ death. An autopsy will be conducted through the department, officials said.
Terry Williams’ employers have created an online fundraiser to to help cover funeral expenses and an independent autopsy.
Williams said his son, who has three brothers and a sister, ran track in school and was easygoing and friendly to all.
“He’s a good person, he got along with everybody. I didn’t know anybody that he didn’t get along with. He’s got two kids, both a year old, a girl and a boy,” he said.
“I don’t think it’s hit me yet to be honest. I feel like it’s all a dream. Why? I just can’t picture this. I feel like I’m just asleep and I haven’t woke up yet” he said. “I’m going to go to my grave with this. That’s my son.”