DSP Investigating Two Inmate Deaths, One Ruled Homicide - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

DSP Investigating Two Inmate Deaths, One Ruled Homicide

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Ronald Shoup Ronald Shoup
GEORGETOWN, Del. (WBOC) - State police are looking into two recent deaths at prisons in Kent and Sussex Counties. And the state medical examiner is calling one of them homicide.

Ronald Shoup died Feb. 27. Shoup had been an inmate for a week at the Sussex County Correctional Institution.

According to his death certificate, which was provided to WBOC by his family's attorney, Steve Hampton, Shoup sustained "lethal trauma while being restrained by multiple times by a prison response team."

The Department of Corrections says Shoup was remanded to SCI on Feb. 20 on a number of drinking and driving-related charges. The DOC provided WBOC a timeline of events that says a few days later Shoup started showing symptoms of substance withdrawal and became very agitated.

Twice, the timeline says, officers helped medical staff forcibly give him medication. Hampton says it was force from the officers that eventually led to Shoup's death.

The death certificate lists "multiple blunt force injuries" as the cause of death.

"Rather than taking him to the hospital, where he can get proper treatment, they're sending in the Quick Response Team to essentially, as it turns out, beat him to death, so they can give him the shots," Hampton said.

State police are investigating, conducting interviews and reviewing surveillance video. A police spokesman says the DOC is cooperating fully.
A police investigation is normal in an inmate death.

"What is kind of unusual is that it's still going on, and they haven't reached a conclusion as to what they're going to do," said Hampton.

In the meantime, Hampton says Shoup's family is considering options.

"Right now the family is waiting to see what is going to happen. Are the going to be criminal charges arising from this homicide? It's homicide. They killed the man. Is anybody going to be held criminally responsible?"

No matter the answer to that question, the family could bring a civil case down the road.

DSP is also investigating the death of an inmate at the James T Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna last week. Jason Cunningham died April 16.

He'd been brought to the prison just that day on a number of charges.

His body has been turned over to the state medical examiner. However, police investigators say preliminarily there is no sign of foul play.
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