Prisoners at Florida’s Lowell Correctional Institution for women say Sgt. Q, as Patrick Quercioli was known, was among the most menacing officers at the prison, a man whose patience was not to be tested, says the Miami Herald in a series on sexual abuse at the facility. Quercioli, who looked more like a bodybuilder than a corrections officer, had been arrested for allegedly dealing steriods and on charges of beating a motorist in a fit of road rage, but still was hired at the prison in 2004.
In 2014, one inmate saw Quercioli allegedly having sex with an inmate in a bathroom. Inmate Latandra Ellington, 36, vowed to report it, even though, according to her, Quercioli threatened to kill her if she didn't keep her mouth shut. Ten days later, after telling her family and prison authorities about the threat, Ellington was found dead in a confinement cell. The death of Ellington, a mother of four with only seven months left to serve at the nation's largest women's prison, is a case study in how Florida often fails to investigate fully suspicious inmate deaths, the Herald says. The story includes an inmate who was seemingly too young to die, a controversial autopsy, unchecked leads, uncollected evidence, unresolved contradictions and, finally, a finding that she died of natural causes, even though she had an elevated and possibly toxic level of medication in her system.