Inmate dies in local prison

‘Medical episode’ stated as cause prior to autopsy

Michelle Monroe

By Michelle Monroe

Executive Editor

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The Facts

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ST. ALBANS TOWN — Vermont State Police are awaiting autopsy results in an investigation into the death of Shayn Turner, 43, an inmate at the Northwest State Correctional Facility (NSCF) on Tuesday.

According to a statement from police, Turner was spotted having a “medical episode” during a routine check on his cell at 1:40 a.m. The correctional officer and a nurse in the facility responded to the emergency call and began lifesaving procedures, said Vermont State Police.

AmCare Ambulance personnel arrived on the scene and took over treatment of Turner, pronouncing him dead at 2:18 a.m., police report.

A mother of an NSCF inmate spoke with the Messenger today. She said Turner’s cellmate raised the alarm about Turner’s condition and other inmates joined him, banging on their cell walls to try and get the attention of a corrections officer.

Turner was a high profile inmate, reportedly just returned to Unit A from segregation.

He was sentenced to 40 years to life in February by Judge Michael Kupersmith as part of a plea agreement in which Turner pled guilty to four counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child. His victim was just six years old at the time of the first rape.

Child pornography charges against Turner for recording the rapes and sharing the images online were dropped as part of the plea agreement. Police do not consider the death suspicious.

In 2009 when the facility housed female inmates, the state coroner determined another NSCF prisoner, Ashley Ellis, died after medical personnel at the facility failed to provide her with the potassium she needed to insure her heart functioned properly.

An inquiry into the case determined that Ellis, 23, had an eating disorder. It was shown that prison medical staff was notified by her physician, in advance of her arrival, of her medical needs, but did not provide the potassium despite repeated requests from Ellis, who died within 48 hours of being incarcerated.