Crime

An ex-jail nurse pleaded guilty in an inmate’s death. Now, she wants to take it back.

Carmon Sue Brannan right, speaks with her attorney, Calvin Taylor, before entering an Alford plea on Tuesday, May 16, 2017, in the manslaughter death of a jail detainee. She was accused of failing to provide "sufficient medical treatment" to William Joel Dixon, who was a diabetic. The crime allegedly occurred between Sept. 17 and 24, 2014.
Carmon Sue Brannan right, speaks with her attorney, Calvin Taylor, before entering an Alford plea on Tuesday, May 16, 2017, in the manslaughter death of a jail detainee. She was accused of failing to provide "sufficient medical treatment" to William Joel Dixon, who was a diabetic. The crime allegedly occurred between Sept. 17 and 24, 2014. amccoy@sunherald.com

A former George County jail nurse who last month pleaded guilty in connection with the death of an insulin-dependent jail detainee has hired a new attorney and wants to withdraw her plea.

Carmon Sue Brannan, 53, had entered an Alford plea in the case in May, meaning she did not admit guilt but agreed there was enough evidence to convict her of manslaughter in the Sept. 24, 2014, death of William Joel Dixon.

Brannan’s attorney at the time of the plea was Calvin Taylor.

On Tuesday, Brannan hired new attorney, Mary Lee Holmes. The same day, Holmes filed a motion asking that Special Judge Richard McKenzie delay Thursday’s sentencing in the case because the attorney plans to file another motion to withdraw Brannan’s plea.

Holmes also said in her motion she would be unable to be in court Thursday because of a scheduling conflict that required her to be in another court in another jurisdiction.

District Attorney Tony Lawrence had recommended at 20-year sentence for Brannan, with 10 years to serve and the remainder of time on post-release supervision.

Brannan was a registered nurse at the jail when she failed to provide “sufficient medical treatment” to Dixon between Sept. 17 and 24, 2014, authorities said.

He was found dead in his cell Sept. 24, 2014 after going days without insulin or food.

A grand jury later indicted Brannan on a manslaughter charge.

Dixon had been picked up after Lucedale police found him asleep in his car. After he was jailed, one of his relatives called the jail to tell officials he was an insulin-dependent diabetic. A relative even brought some insulin to the jail staff to ensure Dixon got the medication he needed to live.

Over the course of Dixon’s time in the jail, Brannan tested his blood sugar only once, Lawrence said, though experts said a blood-sugar check on an insulin-dependent diabetic should be done at least twice a day.

Brannan had not provided insulin to Dixon during his jail stay despite his repeated requests to take the medication and then pleas for help as his symptoms got worse, authorities said.

The insulin Dixon needed had been turned over to the jail after his arrest. Family members brought some insulin to the jail themselves and authorities also went back to Dixon’s car after his arrest to retrieve additional insulin from Dixon’s car. The cops who picked up the insulin from Dixon’s car brought it to the jail and handed it over to staffers to administer to Dixon because he was diabetic.

Brannan, according to a witness statements, repeatedly brushed off Dixon’s complaints of feeling ill, saying he was “faking” and was likely having drug withdrawals. The former jail nurse never administered any insulin during his entire jail stay and also failed to offer assistance even after he was weak and unable to eat for days because he had been deprived of insulin.

Over the course of Dixon’s jail stay, Lawrence said, Brannan never even created a medical file on Dixon, though jail staff repeatedly called on her to check on Dixon. Dixon’s family also went by the jail and called to ensure the staff knew to administer the insulin to Dixon.

At the time of his death, Dixon was in jail on two counts of child endangerment and one count of possession of a controlled substance, DUI other, driving with an expired tag, and driving without insurance.

Brannan was one of two nurses working at the jail at the time. She was responsible for providing adequate medical care to a typical inmate population of about 280 state inmates and 100 county inmates.

After Brannan was allowed to resign following the death, a new jail nurse found Dixon’s insulin. The medication had been thrown in a box of medications that were supposed to be discarded because they weren’t needed.

All of Dixon’s insulin sat in the box meant for disposal during his jail stay.

Local circuit judges recused themselves from hearing the case because Brannan’s sister is George County Chancery Clerk Cammie Brannan Byrd.

Brannan was set for sentencing at 9 a.m. Thursday.

Margaret Baker: 228-896-0538, @Margar45

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