Lawyer claims inmate was possibly mistreated

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, September 2, 2015

NATCHEZ — The attorney for a man recently sentenced to 20 years prison on a drug charge is asking for an investigation of what he characterizes as “possible mistreatment.”

Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield says no mistreatment has occurred.

Willie Duck, 38, was convicted by an Adams County jury Aug. 19 on a charge of possession of schedule II controlled substance with intent to distribute.

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He was sentenced to a mandatory 20 years in prison because he was sentenced as a habitual offender.

Duck’s attorney Jeffery Harness said he met with his client in the Adams County Jail after the sentencing, and Harness said Duck appeared to have several wounds that needed medical treatment.

“When I (went to) see him, I saw that he has some pretty serious injuries, particularly to his left eye,” Harness said. “It looked like his eye was out of socket — he couldn’t open it at all — and he had bruises on his face.”

Harness said Duck told him jail officers had assaulted him, and Harness said he informed the jailers.

“What I am concerned about is the possible — and I do say possible — abuse,” Harness said. “There should be an investigation done. If nothing is ever done, then people are going to consider the facts and interpret it the way they want to. All you have to do is conduct an investigation, take him to the doctor. When nothing is done, that causes a whole lot of confusion.”

Mayfield said Duck was involved in an incident while he was being processed into the jail shortly after sentencing.

“He refused to go into a cell,” Mayfield said. “He backed up and told officers he got 20 years — ‘go ahead and shoot me, I ain’t going into no cell.’”

Mayfield said a brief struggle occurred and Duck was subdued with pepper spray, but no one was injured.

“I know he did see the nurse as a matter of routine, and she didn’t have anything that was brought to my attention,” he said.

“I am not going to allow anybody to be abused in my jail,” he said. “It is a secure facility, and we will do what we have to do to get and keep things under control, but we have to do it with the minimum amount of force necessary.”

Duck remains in the Adams County Jail even though he has been sentenced to the Mississippi Department of Corrections because the trial court is scheduled to hear his motion for a new trial next week.

Duck was one of three men charged in connection with the 2009 murder and attempted rape of Terry Farmer, whose body was found when police and firefighters responded to the apparent arson of her Shadow Lane residence.

The charges against Duck — accessory after the fact to murder, accessory after the fact to rape and accessory after the fact to arson — were dropped without prejudice because of insufficient evidence.

Duck was also charged in August 2010 in connection with the robbery of a man on Main Street. Duck was convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison in September 2011, court documents indicate, but was apparently later released.