County supervisor seeks more info on inmate death

Published 4:20 pm Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

NATCHEZ — District 4 Supervisor Ricky Gray wants more information about the Natchez Police Department inmate who died last week in the Concordia Parish Correctional Facility.

District 4 Adams County Supervisor James “Ricky” Gray

Blarrington Ashley, 53, of Natchez, was indicted by a grand jury for shoplifting more than $1,000. The City of Natchez contracts with Concordia Parish to hold its inmates, as does Adams County, since Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten closed the jail to the majority of its inmates in August 2023 due to safety concerns for inmates and jail staffers.

Since that time, two Natchez inmates have died while in custody at the Concordia Parish Correctional Facility. On Oct. 6, 2023, a Natchez Police Department inmate was killed after he was assaulted by another inmate in the Concordia Parish Correctional Facility.

Email newsletter signup

Brandy Spears, spokesperson for the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office, said on April 29 no information would be released about Ashley’s death until autopsy reports were received and an investigation into his death was complete.

Gray asked Patten at the Adams County Board of Supervisors meeting on Monday morning if he would be notified when that investigation was complete.

“We are going to request that information,” Patten said.

Contacted on Monday, Spears said she had been out of her office for several days and would check on the status of the investigation on Tuesday.

Also on Monday, Debbie Germany, who is heading up a committee sanctioned by the Board of Supervisors to explore options for a new jail for Adams County, told the supervisors they were invited to tour the Copiah County jail facility on Tuesday. She said a group was meeting at the Adams County Sheriff’s Office at 9 a.m. to travel to Copiah County. She estimated the tour would last about an hour.

“It’s (Copiah County Jail) a newer jail and it’s smaller than what we are talking about, but along the same concept,” Germany said.

She said a tour of another facility would be planned in a week or two.

Germany also inquired from County Attorney Scott Slover as to where the agreement to accept a donation of land in the north part of the county from a private business to use to locate a new jail or law enforcement complex stood.

Slover said he had sent an agreement to attorneys who represent the private business, but said he had not heard a response.

Germany told the board a survey of the property and two studies would be necessary before it could be used as a jail. She said those things would cost approximately $50,000.

She said Bert Carson of Sustainability Partners, which has shown interest in building the owning a county jail here and leasing it, said the cost of the survey and studies could be worked into the cost of building the facility.

“That cost could be put in the total cost of the facility, if we use them,” Germany said.