Paralyzed NC Patient Says He Was Beaten, No Charges In Case

Officials say there won't be a prosecution or hospice care in the case of a paralyzed prisoner who said he was beaten while in solitary confinement.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reports Friday that a prosecutor said there wasn't enough evidence to file charges in the case of inmate Timothy E. Helms at a state prison in Taylorsville.

Medical records show Helms suffered brain damage as a result of a beating.

Helms also will have to stay in a prison hospital. Correction Department Secretary Alvin Keller overrode the recommendation of doctors and denied a petition to release Helms to a hospice.

Helms was sent to prison for three life terms after a fatal drunken driving accident in 1994.

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  • by RealityCheck Location: Washington Park on May 2, 2009 at 03:19 PM
    To Chris: I concure with your conlusion that Mr. Helms was not a model prisoner. However, does it not bother you a bit that members of the criminal justice system, who are supposed to be the pillars of truth and integrity, are unable to determine who amongst themselves paralyized this guy? Previous WITN stories about the NC Department of Corrections have brought DOC employees out of the woodwork demanding that they be referred to as "Corrections Officers" as opposed to "Guards" on the basis there is now supposedly an element of professionalism in working for the DOC. After learning of the details of this incident, I feel the term "Guard" is much more appropriate, if not a bit generous. As for the SBI, who can't seem to get any of these knuckle head "guards" to talk, perhaps a session like Mr. Helms experienced will loosen them up?
  • by Chris Location: Greenville on May 2, 2009 at 04:55 AM
    Ted, I agree 100% with you! I tried to post earlier to this story and in short I said that Timothy Helms brought everything that happened onto himself. WTIN and other news agencies just cut and paste what they find "important" leaving out the details of the case. IF you put yourself in prison because of your inability to follow the rules and laws of our society, then so be it! Prison should not be some big cupcake land where all of the fairy inmates gather and discuss the worlds problems at leisure.. They should be made to work, clean the ditches, pave the roads, cut the grass of public parks, schools, etc. They will be entirely to tired to cause problems if they had to earn their food and clothes in prison. Timothy Helms had 125 infractions while in prison, some for assaulting staff. If you live by the sword, you die by the sword!
  • by Jeff Location: Winterville on May 2, 2009 at 02:53 AM
    The people who lose their lives to drunk drivers don't have the opportunity to sue. It's a shame that this guy has brain damage. But couldn't that be from the accident when he was driving drunk and killed innocent people?
  • by Mike on May 1, 2009 at 01:06 PM
    As a former inmate in our fine faciltys around this state,i have seen multiple cases where the gaurds would let other inmates in to cells of inmates that the gaurd had an issue with.So it is very possiable that the gaurds never touched him.The prison system is one the most corrupt state controled places.Its no different than the days of chain gangs,its just got to be a little presentable.
  • by Ted Location: Greenville on May 1, 2009 at 01:04 PM
    I just read the official press release on this story. News agencies are cutting the press release up in such a way as to suggest that the SBI and the DOC are in cahoots to cover up a beating by staff. Nothing could be further from the truth, in fact it was Correctional Officers who rescued this inmate from the fire as well as 15 others and this inmate has been indicted by a grand jury on charges related to this fire. WITN please post the whole story and not just this flawed copy from AP. We Correctional Officers keep enough of a black eye in the public, we don't deserve this one. The officers involved in this should be hailed as heroes. I’ve included my e mail address, if you don’t have the original press release e mail me and I’ll send it too you.
  • by Ted Location: Greenville on May 1, 2009 at 11:46 AM
    There is no evidence this inmate's injuries are the result of any use of force. It is possible his injuries are the result of a failed suicide attempt after the use of force. Or his injuries could be the result of a use of force consistent with DOC Policy which in certain situations includes deadly force. The doctor in this case stated he had wounds consistent with being struck with a billy club. The only problem with that is officers were not issued batons until one month after this incident. There are a lot of variables and facts of this case that have not been made public knowledge. If the SBI after having looked at all the facts say there is no evidence of a crime, that’s good enough for me.
  • by Chris Location: Greenville on May 1, 2009 at 09:17 AM
    Without throwing someone under the bus based on a very SHORT story printed in the news, I will say that if the entire story is published, this man got what he deserved in my opinion, prison was finally able to rehabilitate this monster, or should I say, he helped himself. The facts of the case stand that the man light a fire in his own cell, resisted attempts to pull him to safety, and yet he continued to fight and struggle. With 125 infractions in the 14 years he has been in prison, some for assaulting or harming staff, he has spent 1,459 days in solitary confinement due to his behavior. N&O reports that he is now confined to a bed, unable to walk, feed himself, or control his bowels. I could shed a tear I suppose, but then again he put himself in the position he was in. The family of those killed by his careless actions can now have justice.
  • by Anonymous on May 1, 2009 at 08:59 AM
    Integrity and SBI shouldn't be used in the same sentence.
  • by RealityCheck Location: Washington Park on May 1, 2009 at 08:19 AM
    Helms' attorney should immediately stop communicating with the State of NC and take this to Federal Court (out of the realm of local politics). When people do bad things, they deserve to go to prison. Should a Dept of Corrections officer beat a prisoner until they have brain damage? The SBI was called in to investigate this. The prisoner was in solitary confinement. Who else beat the guy except a guard? So much for the integrity of the NC SBI. Maybe it was Attorney General Cooper who decided there was not enough evidence. Someone needs to answer up...who beat a prisoner in solitary confinement until he was paralyzed and has brain damage?

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