Federal judge: Wrongful death lawsuit against Muscogee County Sheriff in inmate beating death continues

Local News

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – A federal judge has denied the City of Columbus’s request to dismiss a wrongful death lawsuit against Sheriff Donna Tompkins and three members of her command staff.

U.S. District Clay Land handed down the ruling Tuesday afternoon, a week after attorneys representing Tompkins and her deputies moved for immediate dismissal.

Eddie Nelson Jr. was beaten to death, allegedly by a fellow inmate, Jayvon Hatchett, who is facing murder charges in Nelson’s death.

Hatchett had been taken into custody on charges of aggravated assault and possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime with a racial motivation, according to police testimony.

Nelson’s family hired Washington, Ga. attorney Craig Jones, who filed the lawsuit in the Middle District of Georgia three days after Nelson, Jr.’s death.

“It gives the case a green light to go forward, and it means we’ve got years of litigation ahead of us,” said Jones.

Attorneys representing the city argued that the case was filed before the plaintiff had the facts in the case and knew who to sue.

Land counted that in his ruling.

“But at this stage of the litigation, the Court must accept Plaintiffs’ factual allegations as true, and when that is done, Plaintiffs have sufficiently stated a claim,” Land wrote. “Accordingly, as explained in the remainder of this Order, Defendants’ motion to dismiss is denied.”

Read Judge Land’s full Order below:

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