Autopsy Says Maury Inmate Killed Self, Clues Missing

An autopsy says a North Carolina prison inmate with a history of mental illness killed himself by covering his head with a plastic bag and strapping it down with a belt around his neck.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reported Wednesday some details of Johnny Lee Lewis' death at Maury Correctional Institution could not be independently verified because an officer cleaned his cell before Greene County Sheriff's investigators arrived.

The autopsy report says officials at the maximum security prison also refused to allow the medical examiner to see the plastic bag and belt found on the 55-year-old prisoner.

Correction Department spokesman Keith Acree says the cell should not have been cleaned before investigators arrived.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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  • by Easter on Oct 4, 2010 at 04:44 PM
    The same suspicions surrond my son's death there in 2008, Armin Cherry I know he did not kill himself he was getting out in 5 days. God will punish and deal with those that are responsible for his death
  • by Denise Location: NC on Aug 2, 2010 at 09:55 AM
    There are many cases of abuse at maury. Please contact me if you know of an inmate that has been abused. Action needs to be taken.
  • by Tender Heart Location: ENC on Mar 11, 2010 at 05:20 AM
    I worked for DOC and I am a Criminal Justice major. Staff should not have touched the crime scene. That is taught in officer's training but we don't know the situation there. I agree there should be an investigation. Anon is mistaken. Some prisons today, such as Maury, are built with the mental/medical inmate in mind but the job is stressful and the turnover rate is tough. Medical staff are trained in school to be compassionate and with some inmates, you just can't be that way because they will play the system while others who really need the medical attention fall through the cracks. I am not a fan of DOC for my own personal reasons but I do know the stress, strain, and the obligation officers are under so let the authorities investigate the incident and if found in the wrong, allow LE to weed out the guilty party if there was indeed a cover-up and wrongdoing there.
  • by c/o Location: ktown on Feb 23, 2010 at 04:11 AM
    Wut ever lil'moni... you sound like eather a former employee.... or a mom/wife of an inmate.. eather way you dont know wut your talking about. Yeah the officer should not have cleaned the room, BUT that does not speak for all of doc..Its not our fault that eather........... A' You were an employee that got involved with an inmate, and got fired.. or B' married or gave birth to a sorry P.O.S.. Nurses at Doc are not stupid eather. Most put up with Nagging Convicks that complain about everyting and try to use the system just to go to the hospital to get out of prison for a few days. and cost the state many thousands of dollars... So im sure no one reading is holding your opion in high reguards. And us buttwipes put up with all the scum of world... So u watched a few epiodes of C.S.I.... and think u know something. all i can say is Get your butt ready to whistle.. b/c this is no cover-up.. some Low life checks out on his own..and u cry foul play.. if thats not a Inmate lover i will whistle!
  • by lil' moni Location: Bethel, NC on Feb 19, 2010 at 10:43 PM
    WTF, either there are some dumb supervisors working at Maury and (I am sure there is), or they know it is a homicide case and they don't want the public to know how ignorant they really are and don't want the spotlight on them. How stupid can you be Maury Correctional Staff? You have a dead inmate and you clean up the crime scene before the Greene County Sheriffs Dept. can even get there to investigate the scene. The Supervisors from the Sergeants on up to the Superintendant are so ignorant and untrained that each and every one of you buttwipes should have realized that you don't clean up a crime scene and dispose of evidence before the scene is investigated and cleared. The Nurses are stupid as well! You people are pathetic. Everyone who was involved with this incident ought to be fired and charged with a crime. If this isn't a cover-up from the get-go, i'll whistle dixie from my butt. Some heads will roll on this one. This is definately a no-brainer. Open and shut case.
  • by none Location: na on Feb 18, 2010 at 09:24 AM
    when this inmate died the bag was likely removed to see if cpr was aviable option to try to save his life and to anonymous maury correctional also has a mental health staff they never take meds away from patients as punishment man had problems and he took his own life do really think people don't take their own lives at mental hospitals give me a break there is a man at that prison that murdered a stste trooper with three bullets to his head with his own service weapon hes is considered a mental health patientwould u rather he was at a mental institution he could escape from and possibly do more damage think about how the doc keeps your family safe instead of thebad things that happen from time to time just like you the doc is not perfect but they do keep and deal with the scum of the earth that you wouldnt want to rapist murderers and child molesters your worst nightmares themen and women of the nc doc deal with them every day so show them and all law enforcement officers some respect
  • by Anonymous on Feb 18, 2010 at 07:42 AM
    I still say mentally ill people who commit serious crimes should be in a mental institution for the rest of their lives, not prison, even though it is a form of prison. Anywhere you are instituted for life is like prison. There is a double standard in prison for people who are mentally ill because adjusting to open population is difficult. It is difficult for them when they are on the streets. Put them some where they can received treatment. Prison is no place for the mentally ill.
  • by Russ Location: Hednerson on Feb 18, 2010 at 06:20 AM
    Prisons can't handle mental issue?? Evidently you have no idea what is in our prisons. Prisons handle the dreggs of society no matter what their mental capacity. People to that go to prison, get out and return over and over cannot be considered normal or without mental issues.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 17, 2010 at 04:05 PM
    one down nine hunderd and ninty-nine to go
  • by Ted Location: Inside on Feb 17, 2010 at 01:59 PM
    To Anonymous: Medication is NEVER taken away as punishment. Believe me staff want these inmates on their meds! In regards to the rest of your post prisons are not built for mental health patients, they are built for criminals. Which is exactly what this murderer was nothing more than a criminal who happened to also have mental health issues.
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