Inmate's death prompts call for state probe of jail HARFORD COUNTY

April 10, 1993|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,Staff Writer

Prompted by the strangulation of an inmate last year at the Harford Detention Center, the county's chief executive and state's attorney have asked the governor to order a state investigation into the jail's operation.

County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann said yesterday that she and State's Attorney Joseph I. Cassilly had co-signed a letter sent Thursday to Gov. William Donald Schaefer, asking that the Attorney General's Office investigate the 308-bed jail and, particularly, circumstances surrounding jail officials' handling of the inmate's death.

The sheriff's office, Mr. Cassilly and the FBI have conducted investigations into the March 1, 1992, death of 28-year-old William Martin Ford. But no one has been charged.

The Delaware man was serving a 30-day sentence for drunken driving when he was found dead in his cell, face down on his bed with a pillowcase wrapped around his neck.

Initial reports from the Sheriff's Office said Mr. Ford had committed suicide, but a state medical examiner later concluded the strangulation was not self-inflicted.

Major E. Dale Zepp serves as chief of the detention center, which is overseen by Sheriff Robert E. Comes.

Mrs. Rehrmann said the idea of asking the state to assist in investigating the detention center has been discussed since the Ford family's attorney filed a motion of intent to sue the county last summer.

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