Pinellas News

Pinellas sheriff launches investigation into inmate deaths

CLEARWATER — Two internal affairs investigations are under way regarding two inmates who died in July while in custody, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri announced Thursday.

“I believe there are agency policy violations that require in-depth review by Internal Affairs, and I also see a possibility for discipline for some members involved in these cases,” the sheriff said in a statement.

Last month, Thomas Morrow of Treasure Island, 59, died from injuries he sustained after being attacked in a transport van while he and another inmate, Leonard Lanni, 37, of St. Pete Beach, were on their way to the Pinellas County Jail. The July 6 attack happened shortly after the sheriff’s office contracted with a private firm, G4S, to provide transport services.

“We intend to determine whether our policies requiring inmate restraint and separation in the transport van were followed — and to also review our training in this regard,” Gualtieri said in his statement.

Internal Affairs also will investigate a July 21 attack at the jail in which Scott Alexander Greenberg of St. Petersburg, 28, fatally strangled his cellmate, 48-year-old Kelly Damon Harding, according to the sheriff’s office.

Greenberg was awaiting trial on a second-degree murder charge in the 2012 death of his girlfriend. Harding, a transient, was serving a one-year sentence on a burglary charge.

Both Harding and Greenberg’s girlfriend strangled after having toilet paper stuffed down their throats, according to investigators.

“Based upon what we have learned, these two inmates should never have been housed together,” Gualtieri said in his statement. “We believe there was a serious lapse in classification policy compliance here. We intend to further investigate the actions of those responsible.”

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