Suit says prison system's negligence lead to death

A lawsuit says James Belli Jr. would still be alive if not for the state's negligence in allowing a inmate-run extortion ring to exist, and its committal of a number of other mistakes.

The Post and Courier discusses the situation:
Belli was serving an eight- year sentence for burglary and other property crimes in Dorchester County. He was housed alongside hardened criminals, including convicted murderers. ...

Belli was stabbed in the neck while in the Ashley Unit A-Wing of the Ridgeville prison on the morning of Aug. 23, 2006. He died the next day.

Another inmate is named in the suit, The Post and Courier continues:
Belli had complained to prison officials about Rush threatening him as part of the extortion attempts, the suit says. Though officials briefly put Belli in protective custody, they later put him in a cell right next to Rush.

The paper has a good story, so go read it. It will be interesting if any change comes from the lawsuit that could prevent similar situations.

Charleston law firm of Thurmond, Kirchner and Timbes is handling the case.

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