Crime

Her son died in jail. Now the George County nurse accused in his death is suing her.

A jail nurse accused in the death of a George County inmate is now suing the inmate's mother for slander.

She's also suing a juror in her trial that ended in a mistrial earlier this year.

In the complaint filed Thursday, former jail nurse Carmon Brannan says Donna Dixon publicly slandered and defamed her when she started accusing Brannan of wrongdoing before any criminal charge was filed in the case.

Brannan is awaiting a second trial for manslaughter in the Sept. 24, 2014, death of William Joel Dixon, 28, who died after he went without his insulin for seven days.

The George County jail had insulin on hand for Joel Dixon, including a batch his mother delivered and another retrieved from his car, at the time of the death, records say.

The lawsuit points to a March 4, 2015, written complaint Donna Dixon filed with the Mississippi Nursing Licensure Board. In the letter, Dixon accuses Brannan of withholding “lifesaving insulin” from Joel Dixon after he “went into a light coma and was allowed to lay in a cage for three days with no food, water or insulin.”

Brannan wasn't indicted in the case until much later.

The lawsuit also says Donna Dixon sent out letters that said District Attorney Tony Lawrence had provided details of the death before any charge was filed in the case.

Citing Brannan's pending manslaughter trial in July, Lawrence said he could not comment on the merits of the case, but noted a grand jury made of George County residents chose to indict Brannan on a criminal charge.

"However," he said, "I will not accept or tolerate any attempt to intimidate witnesses or victims. As district attorney for the last 15 years, I have stood on the rights of victims in court, and I will continue to do so."

Slander again?

The slander and defamation suit is the second lawsuit Attorney Mary Lee Holmes has filed on Brannan's behalf.

The other accused a juror of slander and defamation.

It was filed after Brannan's first trial in January ended in a mistrial after the jury deadlocked in a 11-1 vote.

In that case, Brannan accused juror Ashley Parnell of wrongdoing for making comments online long before the case made it to trial.

In both cases, Brannan is asking for an unspecified monetary award for pain and suffering and damages to Brannan's reputation, among other things.

Drugs or negligence?

Brannan was the lone registered nurse at the George County jail when Joel Dixon died.

Prosecutors said she repeatedly attributed Dixon's deteriorating health to drug withdrawals because he had admitted smoking up to 2 grams of meth a day for the six months leading up to a Sept. 17, 2104, arrest in Lucedale.

Jailers and others testified Joel Dixon had been unable to eat for days before his death.

On the morning of Dixon's death, Brannan said he was conscious and "sitting up" when she checked on him. Surveillance video shows Brannan's check amounted to her peaking through the window of the jail cell for less than two seconds.

Her attorney argued Dixon suffered from other health problems, including pancreatitis. He took painkillers for a previous back injury, and didn't go to his doctor for diabetes for a year.

But Dixon, according to testimony, had no drugs in his system, and the cause of death was due to complications from diabetes.

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.

Margaret Baker 228-896-0538, margar45
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