Jury returns $18.5M verdict against Maryland

Jessica M. Karmasek Oct. 25, 2011, 2:25pm


BALTIMORE, Md. (Legal Newsline) - A jury on Monday found the state of Maryland negligent for the death of a state prison inmate and awarded $18.5 million to the man's family.

Inmate Philip Parker Jr. was strangled to death by fellow inmate Kevin Johns while aboard a state prison bus in 2005.

Parker's family alleged correctional officers on the bus failed to secure Johns and didn't keep a close enough eye on the rest of the prisoners on the ride along Interstate 70 from Hagerstown to Baltimore.

The State, represented by Attorney General Doug Gansler's office, argued the officers couldn't be held responsible for the inmate's death because they couldn't see him being strangled in the dark bus.

According to The Associated Press, the jury deliberated for more than three hours. In addition to the State, it found three officers negligent and another, the officer in charge on the bus, grossly negligent for Parker's death. A fifth officer was found not negligent.

The jury awarded $10 million to Parker's estate as compensation for his suffering, another $7.5 million to his mother and $1 million to his father, the AP reported.

A spokesman for the Attorney General's Office told the AP that the State will most likely file post-trial motions.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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