The Edmond Sun

State News

February 6, 2013

Ex-guard pleads innocent in death of OSP inmate

McALESTER — A former correctional officer has pleaded not guilty to charges of manslaughter and willful neglect in the death of a prisoner in his cell at Oklahoma State Penitentiary last summer.

Former correctional officer David Willis pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Pittsburg County District Court and was released on a $1,500 bond.

Two other correctional officers were also charged with felony manslaughter and misdemeanor willful neglect in the death of convicted armed robber Julius Parker, who died of smoke inhalation in his cell at OSP July 28.

Former OSP guards David Anderson, 56, Jay Nair, 46, and David Willis, 30, all off McAlester, were charged Friday in Pittsburg County District Court with second-degree manslaughter and willful neglect to perform their duties in Parker’s death.

Parker, 26, was serving time out of Tulsa County for convictions on armed robbery and other charges. He arrived at OSP in April 2006 and was scheduled to be released in December 2032.

All three former correctional officers are no longer employed at the prison, according to Jerry Massie, public information officer for the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. Massie said Anderson and Nair resigned in August and Willis was terminated in September after an investigation into the death was complete.

Massie said Anderson was hired at OSP in 1991; Nair was hired in 2007, and Willis was hired in 2006.

A warrant was issued Friday for the arrests of the three men. Anderson and Nair had not turned themselves in as of presstime Tuesday afternoon, according to Pittsburg County Sheriff Joel Kerns.

Parker allegedly started a fire in his cell sometime between at 12:19 a.m. and 1:29 a.m. the morning of his death, states an affidavit filed in the case.

At 1:29 a.m., smoke became visible to surveillance cameras and Anderson and Nair investigated the smoke, according to the affidavit by DOC Internal Affairs Agent James Parvin.

“No other personnel went to the door of Parker’s cell until 2:24 a.m.,” Parvin states.

Parvin reported Correctional Officer Garvis Wooten performed a check of Parker’s cell at 2:24 a.m. and then informed his chain of command that Parker’s cell was full of smoke “with zero visibility” and he couldn’t get (Parker) to respond, according to the affidavit.

An extraction team retrieved Parker from the cell at 2:50 a.m. He was taken to McAlester Regional Health Center and was pronounced dead at 3:47 a.m., Parvin’s affidavit states.

Parker’s death was a result of complications of smoke inhalation, according a report from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner completed on Aug. 21 and released Oct. 5, the affidavit states.

Charges of felony second-degree manslaughter allege the three did “effect the death of Julius 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.”

All three are charged with misdemeanor willful neglect to perform duty.

If convicted of the charges against them, Anderson, Willis and Nair face up to five years in prison and fines of up to $1,500.

Nair allegedly gave conflicting statements to officials after the incident, the affidavit states.

Several interviews with Nair were conducted by investigators July 28 and 30. Then on Aug. 2, Nair allegedly admitted that his July statements and written report were false.

Nair had initially reported Parker was conscious when Nair and Anderson went to check the cell at 1:38 a.m. and Parker was “upset over food passageway being secured,” the affidavit states.

Nair allegedly reported that at 1:50 a.m.,  he “went back and conducted a second unit check, Parker still agitated,” the affidavit states.

On Aug. 2, Nair allegedly changed his story to admit that when he approached Parker’s’ cell, there were no signs that Parker was conscious and he could not see into the cell to determine if Parker was conscious or alive, court records state.

Meanwhile, during an interview on Aug. 1, Anderson allegedly admitted he and Nair approached Parker’s cell on July 28 after “noting smoke coming from the cell.”

Anderson allegedly said he did not hear anything or see anything that led him to believe Parker was alive at that time, the affidavit states.

Anderson allegedly reported that neither he nor Nair attempted to communicate with Parker at that time.

Court records also state Anderson allegedly heard Nair report to the oncoming shift that Parker was conscious and beating on the door of his cell, and Anderson did not contradict or offer different observations,

Willis allegedly said during interviews he saw smoke coming from Parker’s cell and “there was quite a lot of it.”

Willis also allegedly stated he did not leave a control booth at the prison to go check on Parker and did not report the incident because “he felt Nair had appropriately informed the chain of command,” the affidavit states.

Contact Jeanne LeFlore at jlefore@mcalesternews.com.

1
Text Only
State News
  • clinic 1.jpg Edmond church to host free eye clinic

    An Edmond church and Feed the Children are partnering to provide a free eye clinic.
    Individuals will be able to receive a free vision test and free prescription eye glasses from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 9 at the Waterloo Road Baptist Church, 3100 E. Waterloo Road. All ages are welcome and registration is not required.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • weather 1.jpg July could be coolest in weather record books

    With chances for soaking rains and unseasonably cool temperatures becoming frequent, a weather expert is increasingly convinced Oklahoma will end up with a historic July.
    At mid-afternoon Tuesday, the National Weather Service forecast for Edmond called for the high Wednesday to be near 73 with a 90 percent chance of heavy rain, followed by the high Thursday near 78 with a 30 percent chance of showers.
    Highs are expected to remain in the 80s into Monday.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • UCO forensic volunteer wants to aid more agencies

    A four-person group of forensic investigators who volunteer their time to help smaller Oklahoma police departments isn’t enough to meet demand, a member said.
    Kama King, who recently completed her graduate research and will be a member of the faculty at the University of Central Oklahoma’s Forensic Science Institute, said outside of full-time jobs, members of the group volunteer to assist these agencies.
    As her career progresses, King hopes to help establish a permanently funded organization available to any agency in the state to assist in remains recovery as well as related training.

    July 29, 2014

  • jc_ITS map.jpg More cameras monitoring Edmond motorists

    The Edmond City Council this week approved a services agreement with Electronic Technology, Inc. For the  installation of Intelligent Transportation Systems’ video wall system at a cost of $314,620. The vote was 3-0.
    ITS is a fiber optic, wireless or hybrid communication system of monitoring road events and equipment in the field, data archiving and predicting traffic volume, said Kent Kacir, an engineer with Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • sales tax holiday.jpg Oklahoma sales tax takes a holiday

    Beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 1 and ending at midnight Aug. 3, Oklahomans will be able to participate in a sales tax holiday giving shoppers the opportunity to purchase certain clothing and shoes free of sales tax.
    Yes, retailers may not charge tax, including state and local sales taxes on items that are tax-exempt during the sales tax holiday weekend. The sales of clothing and shoes priced at less than $100 are exempted from sales taxes.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • MS_new pastor_Page_1.tiff Local church welcomes new pastor

    For one of Edmond’s newest pastors, faith and family intersect on a personal level.
    Sam Powers, pastor at Edmond 1st United Methodist Church, 305 E. Hurd St., and his family arrived in mid-May and his first Sunday in the pulpit was the second one in June. He and his wife Sheryl Heaton Powers, have two children — Kyla will be an eighth-grader at Cheyenne Middle School and David will be a fifth-grader at John Ross Elementary.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • pm_Ramona Paul.jpg Keith, 5 others to receive service awards

    The 2014 Door-Opener Awards Gala dinner and silent auction Sept. 4, benefitting ASTEC Charter Schools, will recognize five outstanding Oklahomans and one Kansan for lifetime contributions made toward helping others in society maximize potential and achieve dreams.
    Those selected to receive a Door-Opener Award at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel event include Dr. Harvey Dean, Pittsburg, Kan.; Toby Keith and Tricia Covel, Norman; Former Gov. George P. Nigh, Edmond; the late Dr. Ramona Paul, Edmond; and Natalie Shirley, Oklahoma City.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Anderson Properties continues to grow

    Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties recently announced the acquisition of Tulsa-based Prudential Alliance Realty, an eight-office, 150-agent brokerage operating in Tulsa and Oklahoma City and Edmond.
    The transaction gives Anderson Properties, a full-service real estate agency a total of 38 offices and more than 600 agents.

    July 28, 2014

  • police car.jpg Enid man injured following pursuit

    Larry Lynn Edwards was taken to St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center following the 11:32 p.m. crash on 30th Street, just north of Fox Drive, with head and internal body injuries.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Texas man critical after ATV crash

    Edward Alan Bourland, 37, of San Angelo, Texas, was taken from the scene of the 3 p.m. collision by Eagle Med and flown to OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City.

    July 26, 2014