Family: He Died in Prison Assault Weeks Before Release

Relatives say Daniel Williams was essentially kidnapped by inmates, though warden in Alabama claimed overdose
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 14, 2023 1:43 PM CST
Family: Young Father Dies in Alabama Prison Assault
Daniel Terry Williams   (GoFundMe)

Daniel Terry Williams, serving a 1-year sentence for second-degree theft, was due to be released from Alabama's Staton Correctional Facility early this month. Instead, he left two weeks early because he'd been beaten so badly that he was brain dead, according to family, who claim he was tortured and sexually assaulted by fellow inmates over the course of several days, per The Alabama Department of Corrections said the 22-year-old was "discovered unresponsive in his dorm" on Oct. 22 following a report of "a possible inmate-on-inmate assault." He was "transported to the Health Care Unit," then to an area hospital. Doctors said he was brain dead, according to Williams' family, who chose to take him off life support on Nov. 5.

The father of two young children died Nov. 9 in Kilby Correctional Facility's medical unit, where he was likely moved so as to reduce the corrections department's hospital bill, per Alabama Political Reporter. Williams' father, Terry Williams, tells the outlet that Staton's warden, Joseph Headley, initially called Oct. 25 to say his son had suffered a drug overdose. But at the hospital, it was obvious Williams had been beaten, says his stepmother Taylor Bostic. "He was black and blue from head to toe. He had restraint marks on his wrists," she tells Fox News. She says the couple were told by another inmate that Williams was found in a dorm that was not his own and had been "tied up, beaten, and rented out for two to three days," per the Political Reporter.

"I called the warden, and I cussed him," Terry Williams tells WVTM. "I said, Dude, you know this is not an overdose case? You know exactly what happened." Headley reportedly responded that the case is under investigation. The Alabama Department of Corrections has faced numerous allegations of misconduct and overcrowding in recent years. In 2020, the Justice Department sued the state, claiming it didn't do enough to prevent violence and sexual assault in its prisons. Some 1,897 prison assaults were reported in the first eight months of this year, per The Political Reporter cites sources as saying "that what happened to Daniel has happened to other people as well." "Somebody's got to pay for it," Terry Williams tells Fox. "I'm not backing down." (More inmate deaths stories.)

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