MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A family is fighting for justice after their son was killed outside a Memphis courtroom, allegedly by another inmate who was already being held in jail on multiple charges.
Friday, WREG went to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office hoping to get answers. We were told the Sheriff is out of town, one day after investigators say 21-year-old Donnie Clay allegedly stabbed 25-year-old Deion Byrd to death near a courtroom.
Investigators say Clay stabbed Byrd in the neck with the metal shank after Byrd spit in his face and accused him of breaking into his home.
Now, Byrd’s family is pushing for justice, wondering how an inmate was able to get a shank into what’s supposed to be a secure holding area.
Jonathan Irvin was with the SCSO for 27 years as a deputy jailer and knows all the security measures that are supposed to keep everyone safe.
“I think it was negligent, pure negligence,” Irvin said. “We found guns on inmates, money on inmates, and you can’t find a shank?”
This month, WREG requested information on the number of inmate deaths from last January to now. Fourteen inmates have died since 2022. Byrd’s father Marcus is directly impacted by those numbers.
“We still need to try to exercise some type of safety. For these people incarcerated, if we don’t it’s going to keep happening,” he said.
Clay is now expected back in court on Monday on the new murder charge.