Sunflower County coroner gives details on latest Parchman death


Another inmate has died at the State Penitentiary at Parchman, which brings the statewide inmate death total to five as of Friday morning with three of the deaths at the Parchman facility.

According to a press release from Sunflower County Coroner Heather Burton, the latest victim is Denorris Howell. Burton said her investigation revealed that he was allegedly involved in an altercation with his cellmate, which led to both of them being stabbed multiple times.

However, physician Colette Scott, MD, pronounced Howell dead at 3:20 a.m. and there was no mention of the name or condition of the cellmate.

In her statement, Burton said, "I received the call at 3:20 a.m. from MDOC Security at Parchman advising of the death of an inmate in unit 29I." Burton noted that she arrived at Parchman just over an hour later to begin her investigation.

This is the third death at the Parchman facility since the start of the new year. On Wednesday, Burton said a call came in around 12:42 a.m. regarding the death of an inmate in unit 29E.

The coroner said when she arrived the unit was still unsecured from a gang-related riot, so she was kept secured out of the unit until all inmates were assessed and safely moved from the zone where the victim was housed. That victim was Walter Earl Gates and his death was apparently the result of multiple stab wounds.

Then on Thursday, another call came in to Burton around 11:47 a.m., regarding the death of an inmate in unit 42, which is the hospital. That inmate, whose identity is not being released until family can be notified, also suffered multiple stab wounds reportedly due to a gang-related riot in unit 29D.

According to Burton, the three victims have been sent to the Mississippi State Medical Examiner in Pearl for autopsy.

Burton wrote, “I have seen and have received calls about many rumors that are circling, so I would like to urge the public to please not make statements or social media post based on hearsay.” Burton added that she will make official media releases regarding any deaths and they will consist of the true facts.

She asserted and assured that the information released “are the facts as I know them.” She said for any additional information, the Mississippi Department of Correction should be contacted.

Burton is calling for community prayer. “Please join me in saying a prayer for the families of the victims, MDOC staff, state and local law enforcement, the inmates and their families. I pray for a peaceful resolution to the situation to be found soon God bless you all,” said Burton.

Click the link below for The E-T's comprehensive coverage of the Parchman deaths, escapes


It’s not unusual for schools to root for other teams when their win might bump them into a higher... READ MORE


Billy Ray Edwards, 55, of Holcomb, formerly of Shaw, passed away Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020 at Merit... READ MORE

Breaking News

Inmates got all the way to Tennessee before capture