Guard Details Security Problems at Parchman - - Jackson, MS

Parchman 08/29/07

Guard Details Security Problems at Parchman

By Kandiss Crone

Earnest Lee Hargon was sentenced to death in December of 2005 for the murders of his cousin, his cousin's wife, and their four year old son.

But that death sentence played out early.

In a press release, officials at the Mississippi Department of Corrections say Hargon, 46, was stabbed to death in Unit 32 at Parchman by fellow inmate Jessie Wilson.

Hargon was cleaning a tier of Unit 32 just before 9:00 Tuesday night when the attack occurred, according to that press release.

But a prison guard who works in a unit close to Unit 32 says it is unusual that Hargon, a death row inmate, was allowed to be out on the tier.

"When people heard it, experienced officers were like, 'That's crazy,' and it was a direct result of that -- because he was out -- the other guy was able to get to him. Had he be been in his own cell, it could have never happened."

The officer, who does not want to be identified, says Hargon had been released from his cell for the past couple of weeks to pass out food trays to fellow inmates.

He says Wilson sawed off a cell bar, broke out, and then killed Hargon, stabbing him more than 30 times.

"They have time, they watch, study, and they learn our patterns, they have 24 hours a day to do what they want."

Hargon's death is the third in unit 32 in as many months.

In June, Boris Harper was killed by a fellow inmate who made a spear out of a mop handle and a piece of metal.

On July 25th, Donald Reed, Jr. was killed when seven inmates broke out of their exercise pens.

Reed was stabbed to death with a homemade shank, two others were injured.

This Parchman officer blames a staff shortage for the recent attacks.

"They're running a building that's designed to have 15-16 officers, and they're running it with five, maybe six sometimes," he said.

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