An inquest jury on Monday issued an advisory verdict that probable cause of a crime exists in the death of Terrill Thomas in the Milwaukee County Jail a year ago, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The jury found probable cause of a crime in the actions of seven jail officials under a felony statute prohibiting abuse, neglect and ill-treatment of inmates. Now it will be up to District Attorney John Chisholm to decide if any criminal charges are warranted in the April 2016 death of Thomas, a 38-year-old with bipolar disorder who was deprived of water and a mattress during seven straight days at the Milwaukee County Jail run by Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr.
Chisholm said he would give a lot of weight to the inquest verdict but is not bound by it or limited by it. He could charge more than seven people, none or any number in between. He said he tried to limit the number of individuals to those directly involved in Thomas’ care or jail leaders who knew or should have known of problems. The jury found probable cause in the actions of seven individuals: Sheriff’s Maj. Nancy Evans, Jail Lt. Kashka Meadors and corrections officers James Ramsey-Guy, Thomas Laine, John Weber, Dominique Smith and JorDon Johnson.