Two Louisiana jail guards, including one who shot himself during the middle of his 2018 trial, pleaded guilty Thursday to federal charges in connection with an inmate’s 2014 death, just before the case was set for a second trial.
NOLA.com reports, 19-year-old Nimali Henry died alone in a St. Bernard jail cell because she wasn’t given medication for a rare blood condition, Andre Dominick and Lisa Vaccarella pleaded guilty to federal charges that could land them in prison.
Dominick, a captain at the jail, pleaded guilty to deprivation of rights under the color of law, for failing to secure Henry needed medical treatment. He reportedly faces a maximum penalty of life in prison at a June 10 sentencing.
Vaccarella, a deputy, pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony and lying to the FBI when she claimed she didn’t know Henry needed help. She faces up to eight years in prison at an April 29 hearing.
Another jail guard, Debra Becnel, pleaded guilty earlier this month to lying to the FBI. She faces up to five years in prison at an April 22 sentencing.
Henry’s April 1, 2014, death in custody resulted in a federal investigation that revealed “widespread indifference from guards to her disorder,” known as TTP, according to reports.
A total of four jail employees were charged in December 2015. One pleaded guilty in 2018, admitting that he did nothing to help Henry during her dying days.
Federal prosecutors attempted to put the remaining three defendants on trial in November 2018. But that proceeding was stopped after Dominick shot himself in the torso.
According to NOLA.com, witnesses said in the days after Henry was arrested on minor charges, she told both inmates and guards that she needed medicine in order to live.
But even after an incident in which Henry struggled to breathe and collapsed on her bunk room’s floor, nobody brought her the medicine or called an ambulance. Instead, guards put her in an isolation cell, where she died of a blood clot.