Mississippi inmate pronounced dead at hospital, autopsy set

Published 6:12 am Wednesday, March 10, 2021

A Mississippi man convicted of child exploitation has died after being taken from a prison to a Jackson hospital.

The state Department of Corrections said Tuesday that Vernon Williams, 63, was pronounced dead Saturday at Merit Health Central. He was taken there from Central Mississippi Correctional Facility. An autopsy will be done.

Williams pleaded guilty Aug. 31 to child exploitation in Rankin County. He was given a 30-year sentence. The judge suspended 20 years, which means Williams would have faced 10 years in prison.

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At least 19 Mississippi inmates have died this year, according to the Department of Corrections.

At least 106 Mississippi inmates died from late 2019 until the end of 2020. Several died during outbursts of violence in late December 2019 and early January 2020. The U.S. Justice Department announced in February 2020 that it is investigating the state’s prison system.