Bullock inmate’s death disturbs family

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 23, 2000

Features Editor

Feb. 22, 2000 11 PM

The mother of a state inmate who apparently was beaten to death this past weekend in the Bullock County Correctional Facility is questioning a system that would allow the brutal death of someone in its care.

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"We don’t know what happened to Frankie in that prison," former Pike County resident Jo Ann Bailey said regarding the death of her son, Frankie Bailey Jr., 33.

"All we know is that our son is dead and he was struck on the head. He was in prison for a sex crime. Frankie was gay. He admitted to that and we believe that had something to do with his death. Nobody should be killed in prison. That shouldn’t happen.

"Two guards were watching Frankie in the hospital and he was brain dead. Why weren’t they watching him in prison. Why? If they had been, my son might not be dead today."

Mrs. Bailey said she and her family want everybody who has someone they love in prison to know that something like this could happen to them.

"It’s the saddest thing. We love Frankie so much and now he’s gone and we don’t know why," Mrs. Bailey said. " Knowing what happened won’t bring Frankie back but it might keep something like this from happening to someone else. We want something good to come from this."

Frankie Bailey’s family wanted to donate his organs to the organ bank but weren’t allowed to do so.

"The coroner said Frankie’s death is being treated as a homicide and they want his body to remain intact," she said. "We wish Frankie’s death could have given someone else a better chance a life. It might make what we are going through a little easier."

According to a report in The Montgomery Advertiser Monday, John Hamm, a Department of Corrections spokesman, said Bailey apparently was beaten by another inmate.

Frankie Bailey Jr. was transported to Jackson Hospital from the Union Springs hospital around 4:30 Saturday morning after he was found lying unconscious on the bathroom floor of Bullock County Correctional Facility shortly after midnight, according to Bailey’s mother. Bailey had been incarcerated at the Bullock County Correctional Facility for about four months, his mother said.

Mrs. Bailey said her son was first taken to the infirmary at the correctional facility and then to the Union Springs hospital where doctors examined him and found a soft spot on his head.

"They took him to Jackson Hospital in Montgomery on a prison van," she said. "As bad as his condition was, they didn’t have any medical personnel with him – only two prison guards – like he was going to escape." However, Mrs. Bailey did say an official at the Bullock County facility maintained that Bailey was transported by ambulance, "but no one we talked to saw the ambulance

– only the prison van."

The family learned that Bailey was hospitalized in Montgomery in serious condition through a message left on his sister’s answering machine.

Mrs. Bailey said her daughter Donna Paramore of Goshen called her and her husband Frank Bailey at their Mexico Beach home immediately after hearing the message Saturday morning.

"Donna said the message just said it didn’t look good for Frankie," Mrs. Bailey said. "We were so upset – I can’t tell you how upset. We started getting prepared to come up here and my husband had a heart attack. I had to see about him and get him taken care of before I could leave. Then my car broke down. It just seemed like everything bad that could happen did happen."

Mrs. Bailey arrived at Jackson Hospital late on Saturday and was told by the guards stationed at her son’s room that she might not be able to see him.

"I told them I’d like to see them try to keep me from him," she said. "But the people at the hospital were very kind. They let us come and go and they didn’t even make us observe visiting hours."

Frank Bailey Sr. was able to travel on Sunday and arrived in time to see his son before he died.

"The doctors said Frankie had a blood clot on the left side of his brain and it didn’t look promising," Mrs. Bailey said. "They took him straight to surgery when he got there and doctors were doing what they could for him, and about 7:15 Sunday night, they officially pronounced him dead. But the doctor said Frankie was clinically dead when he arrived at the hospital. They said the blow killed him."

Frankie Bailey, Jr. was serving a 15-year sentence for a sex crime committed in 1998 in Jefferson County. He would have been eligible for parole in 2005. Bailey served the first two years of his sentence in the Jefferson County Jail and the Limestone Correctional Facility but was transferred to Bullock County Correctional Facility to be closer to family.

The Montomery Advertiser also reported that Hamm said Bailey’s death would prompt the Department of Corrections to seek a warrant containing murder charges against an unnamed suspect.

Hamm was unavailable for comment when contacted by The Messenger Tuesday.