Investigation launched at prison, warden McCoy suspended with pay

Published 3:02 pm Wednesday, July 15, 2015



Decatur County Correctional Institution Warden Elijah McCoy was indefinitely suspended with pay Wednesday while an independent investigation is conducted at the prison.

According to Decatur County Commissioner Pete Stephens, accusations on McCoy from outside sources range from misconduct to mismanagement as prison warden.

Interim county administrator Perry Henry stressed the investigator, Ed Mercer, will not be conducting a criminal investigation.

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“He’s just helping us interview people and gather facts,” Henry said. “Once we get all the facts, we can make a decision on disciplinary action needing to be taken. When you have accusations going around, even if they sound ridiculous, you still have to get to the bottom of it.”

McCoy’s suspension does not have a timetable attached, but the investigation will most likely take a number of days, Henry said.

Henry said he made the decision to suspend McCoy and hire Mercer.

Mercer’s investigation will cost $1,000, but Henry said he did not believe that number was a firm price and could very well change before the investigation ends.

After the investigation, Henry mentioned he would like Mercer to examine the Decatur County Prison and see how the system can be improved or made more efficient.

“He might could point his finger at something where we are spending money where we can cut back on,” Henry said. “What he’s in there right now for is gathering facts about allegations. His input is invaluable to us.”

Decatur County Commission Chairman Dennis Brinson declined to comment, instead referring to an email he had sent stating McCoy was indefinitely suspended with pay and an independent investigation was being launched.

Mercer served as Warden of the Liberty Correctional Institution in Bristol, Florida, from 2011-13 and warden of the Indian River Correctional Institution in Vero Beach, Florida, from 2008-11.