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Father seeks answers after death of his son on day he was supposed to be released from jail

By Maxime Tamsett, CNN

(CNN) — A grieving father says he wants to know what led to the death of his 22-year-old son on the day he was supposed to be released from an Alabama correctional facility.

Daniel Terry Williams died November 9 after his family took him off life support following what the Alabama Department of Corrections called a “possible inmate-on-inmate assault”

Williams had been serving a 1-year sentence for property theft out of Jefferson County, the department told CNN in a statement.

Jail officials reported the possible assault on October 22 at Staton Correctional Facility in Elmore County, Alabama, according to the Alabama Department of Corrections.

Williams was taken to a health care unit for treatment and monitoring by medical personnel after he was found “unresponsive in his dorm,” according to the corrections department.

Later, the decision was made to take him to a hospital for “further evaluation and treatment,” the statement said.

Daniel’s father, Terry Williams, told CNN he learned his son was in the hospital when his stepdaughter received a phone call on October 25 from the Staton Correctional Facility warden, Joseph Headley.

Williams said when he called the warden to figure out what had happened, Headley allegedly told him Daniel had “apparently overdosed.”

When Williams saw his son at Jackson Hospital in Montgomery, he told CNN he “cussed out” the warden, believing the warden had lied to him.

“Anybody could look at Daniel and tell he’s not laying on his deathbed because of (an) overdose,” Williams said.

“The warden told Terry that Daniel was in the hospital for a drug overdose,” Andrew Menefee, an attorney representing Terry Williams, told CNN. “The warden did not mention anything regarding a physical or sexual assault on Daniel.”

“He had bruises all up and down his body, cuts, he had indentations in his head. It looked like they took a mop handle or something and beat him across the head with it. He was in bad shape,” Williams said.

Williams explained the doctor told him while not officially brain-dead, Daniel had “lost 90% of his brain” and was not going to recover.

CNN reached out to the Staton Correctional Facility for comment from the warden and was told to contact the Alabama Department of Corrections. The corrections department said its Law Enforcement Services Division has opened an investigation into the incident

CNN reached out to the department and Jackson Hospital regarding the allegations by Terry Williams but has not received a response.

While visiting his son, Williams said, he noticed there were times when Daniel was handcuffed to the bed and was being monitored by five corrections officers. “It was so hard going up there and looking at him like this and seeing the (officers) sitting there playing on their phones knowing this crap is going on still. It’s awful.”

After having conversations with inmates at the correctional facility, Williams said he believes his son was attacked before being taken to the hospital.

Attorney: Inmate may have been sexually assaulted

Menefee told CNN he requested a rape kit be performed on Daniel at the hospital because he believes Daniel was sexually assaulted.

“We were hearing that in comments from nurses and doctors at the hospital who described seeing bruising on the inside of Daniel’s legs. They said his skin was just black with bruises, they had never seen so much bruising, and they said it was obvious that he had been sexually assaulted and raped.”

Menefee told CNN he was sent an email from the corrections department confirming the test has been requested and was to be conducted on October 31. “I have not received confirmation that it was performed and I have not received any results from that test,” Menefee added.

Williams said whenever he questioned the warden, he was told “It’s under investigation.”

Williams also said he received conflicting timelines from inmates and the warden about what happened to his son.

On November 5, Williams said the family decided to take their son off life support.

He was then taken to Kilby Correctional Facility for “long-term comfort care,” where he died four days later, according to the Alabama Department of Corrections.

Daniel had two children under the age of 2, son Hayden and daughter Danielle.

Terry Williams said Daniel was a hard worker and was trying to do the right thing by completing his sentence.

“He was an easygoing, loving kid … He’s got two kids that he was taking care of before he got locked back up and everything. He was trying to do the right thing,” said Williams.

Williams said he wants justice for his son and hopes no one else has to go through such an ordeal.

“I just want everybody to know what’s going on in there and stop all this violence in these prisons,” Williams noted. “We’re sending them in there to get help and serve their time, not come out in a casket.”

CNN’s Ashley R. Williams and Morayo Ogunbayo contributed to this report.

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