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Deputies resign, nurse fired after Bibb jail inmate hangs himself in isolation cell

A Bibb County jail inmate who hanged himself from a bed sheet in his cell earlier this year was left in an isolation cell unmonitored or checked on for about six hours before he killed himself, an investigative summary of the death concluded.

A copy of the 17-page summary obtained this week by The Telegraph details the final hours of 40-year-old William Elder Homan’s life.

Homan, who had been jailed for an alleged probation violation related to a shoplifting conviction on Feb. 6 of this year, was found dead in his cell the morning of Feb. 16.

An internal affairs probe conducted by the Bibb Sheriff’s Office of Professional Standards determined that two deputies on duty the night Homan died, Kaleb White and Geoffrey Osman, “did not perform hourly checks that were written in the log books.”

Hourly cell block checks are required, according to a statement in the report.

The two deputies have since resigned, Sheriff David Davis said.

Crystal Wilson-Perez, a nurse who works for Correct Health, which contracts with the jail, was fired for not following her company’s policy related to “doing check-ups on inmates while they are in isolation,” the internal affairs investigation concluded.

Reached by phone Wednesday, the sheriff said deputies assigned to oversee some of the roughly 180 inmates on their cell block, including Homan, “doctored and did some stuff on the log books.”

“It’s a lack of doing their duty,” Davis said.

“Had they done their jobs as prescribed by policy and procedure, there is a possibility that Mr. Homan could have been found sooner than he was.”

He added that Homan was not under a so-called suicide watch. Homan had been placed in a one-inmate cell after he broke a sprinkler head and flooded a cell block Feb. 9.

After watching surveillance footage, investigators concluded that in the hours surrounding Homan’s death the jailers failed to look in on Homan between 11:33 p.m. Friday and 5:35 a.m. Saturday when White delivered breakfast. The jailer slid a food tray under Homan’s metal cell door, which had a small window in it.

It was about half an hour later, when White went to retrieve the tray, that he noticed Homan had not moved. Rescuers tried to resuscitate Homan, but he appeared to be dead by then, investigators said.

He had tied a bed sheet around his neck and tied the other end to a smoke detector in his cell and “appeared to be sitting on the edge of the bed,” investigators noted.

Joe Kovac Jr. covers crime and courts for The Telegraph with an eye for human-interest stories. A Warner Robins native, he joined the paper in 1991 after graduating from the University of Georgia.
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