Legal Updates

Suspicious Death of Inmates Leads to Investigation

A Philadelphia attorney working with families of inmates that have died in a South Jersey jail says he plans to investigate a third inmates recent death at the same facility.

Benedetto is representing the families of Alissa Allen, 24, of Millville, and Robert Lewis, 35, of Vineland, who were found dead last year.

First, Allen was found dead hanging in her cell March 23, 2015. She was arrested in Millville the previous day for possession of drug paraphernalia and not wearing a seatbelt and her bail was set at $728.

Next, Lewis was found hanging in the showers of the jail from a bed sheet on Oct. 29, 2015. News outlets reported he had been arrested earlier that week for robbery and was held on $100,000 bail

Now, Lawyer Conrad Benedetto will be looking into the June 3 death of Jon Watson, 43, of Bridgeton, Cumberland County, who was found unresponsive in his cell in the Cumberland County Correctional Facility.

Watson’s family learned that he was found unresponsive in his cell while preparing for his release.

Watson was a father of young children and an adult son, his family is devastated and confused by his death—it just doesn’t make sense.

Watson “was an otherwise healthy individual,” and in general, it seems surprising someone would commit suicide if they were about to be released from jail, Benedetto said. Additionally, the lawyer noted that if Watson had suicidal tendencies, that should have been noted during the jail’s intake process and steps should then have been taken to prevent him from harming himself.

Reports by New Jersey media outlets said Watson was jailed on charges of resisting arrest, eluding police and driving while suspended.

As a result of the multitude of suspicious suicides at the facility, Benedetto has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Allen’s family against the jail and other entities.