TBI investigating second death at Jefferson County Jail

DANDRIDGE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Pictures are all Priscilla Trent has left of her son, Shannon. She said the outdoorsman and loving father of three was a good man, but not perfect.

"He was a good kid through school, he got good grades. But he got in trouble - drugs. He did do drugs," said Priscilla Trent.

On Saturday, Jefferson County deputies booked Shannon Trent into jail on a vandalism charge. Priscilla and her sister, Glenda, said he called them repeatedly, begging for bond money.

"We tried our best - I was actually going to go co-sign for him to get him out, but I just didn't have the cash to get him out," said Glenda Clevenger, Trent's Aunt.

Then, on Wednesday, his mom got heartbreaking news:

"They said they were doing their walk arounds and that they didn't see Shannon in his bed and that he had a roommate in there. And he said that the roommate was asleep and they went to the shower and saw that Shannon had hung himself," said Trent.

She said her son was staying in a medical cell because of a problem with his finger, but that he wasn't on a suicide watch list because the guards didn't think he was suicidal. Trent's family believes if the jail staff were more alert, Shannon would be alive today.

"They should have patrolled it more, they should have looked at the cameras more than they did. They should have seen him take the sheets in there," said Trent.

"If there's cameras in there, those cameras should be watched 24-hours-a-day - that 's what they get paid for," said Clevenger.

Trent's family hopes something will change, so no one else will have to go through the same pain they're enduring.

The TBI confirms it's investigating a death that occurred at the Jefferson County Jail on Wednesday, but couldn't give more details. It's also investigating two other deaths at the jail - one inmate is believed to have died from a heart attack recently, while Jeffrey Free was found hanged in his medical cell in January. Free's wife has filed a $300,000 wrongful death lawsuit against the county, saying jailers knew Free had medical problems and was suicidal.

In a news conference on Friday, Sheriff G.W. "Bud" McCoig said his workers did nothing wrong in any of the cases.

District Attorney Jimmy Dunn couldn't be reached for comment.

Sheriff G.W. "Bud" McCoig said his deputies did nothing wrong.


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