Family of 3rd inmate to die at the Cuyahoga County Jail this year demands answers

Updated: Dec. 4, 2020 at 10:24 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A “call to action” for transparency at the Cuyahoga County Jail after a third inmate this year has died on their watch.

The Cuyahoga County Jail has had its’ share of problems over the years and the family of an inmate recently murdered at the hands of his cellmate -- wants to know how this could happen when there are officers paid to watch over them and keep the peace.

Dionne Brooks is the wife of Shone Trawick, who was murdered inside the Cuyahoga County Jail on November 9th allegedly by his cellmate, who has now been charged with murder. The Cleveland woman can’t fight back the tears when she talks about what happened.

“It’s disgusting because this is someone’s life. You took a loved one away from his family, his friends. And for nobody over at the Cuyahoga County Jail to give me no type of call, like nothing at all, I feel like his life didn’t mean nothing,” Brooks tells 19 News.

The victim was a husband and father to six children. A doctor at Metro Health told the family Trawick was assaulted at the jail and was brought to the hospital with severe head trauma. His wife says sources are telling her this all happened during a shift change at the jail.

Trawick’s suspected attacker Edmond Hightower is described by the family as a large man who was 6′7″ and 230 pounds. The victim knew of him before coming to jail, but his wife says they were not friends. Hightower spent three years in a mental health facility after being found incompetent to stand trial in another assault where he reportedly nearly killed someone.

Brooks says other inmates say her husband begged for help, “He literally cried for help, and nobody came. So where were your guards at?”

The family’s Attorneys, Tyresha Brown-O’Neal and Jason Ralls say the victim’s family is frustrated that no one from the Cuyahoga County Jail has provided information after numerous calls. And the attorneys have their questions like why would a man serving a misdemeanor like a victim be put in the same cell and the general population if he has mental health issues like Hightower?

Attorney Brown-O’Neal says, “Through our own investigation – as early as 2013 Mr. Hightower had been deemed to have some type of mental health issue. Not only mental health but violent tendencies as it related to his mental health.”

According to Attorney Brown-O’Neal, the Cuyahoga County Jail has systemic, deep-rooted problems, and at least 18 people have died in the jail, she says since 2018. Deaths that sparked several investigations. The family just wants to know what happened, how, and why?

“Why won’t anyone sit down with us and have a conversation,” Attorney Brown-O’Neal said.

The murdered inmate’s wife feels state and federal authorities need to return to the jail and investigate what changes need to happen, “So I think a whole investigation of that jail needs to be done again. Because the first one did not put any fear in them at all.”

The suspect in the case is expected to answer to the murder charges before a judge on December 8th.

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