Wake County Detention Center jailer Markeith Council was indicted Tuesday on a charge of voluntary manslaughter in the June 4 beating that ultimately claimed the life of inmate Shon Demetrius McClain.
McClain, 40, was booked into the Wake County jail May 28 on misdemeanor charges. The altercation between the jailer and inmate on June 4 occurred in a day room at the jail.
Two witnesses, both inmates, say it started with a verbal exchange between McClain and Council that escalated until Council pushed McClain to the floor.
McClain got up and took a swing at Council but did not connect, the witnesses said. McClain’s autopsy report from the state medical examiner’s office, however, states that McClain punched Council in the face.
Witness accounts and the autopsy report agree that Council then hoisted McClain and slammed him twice on his neck and head.
McClain was about 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighed 145 pounds, according to arrest reports. Inmates say Council is about 6-3 and weighs close to 300 pounds.
Emergency workers arrived and transported McClain to WakeMed, where he remained on life support until he died June 17.
The autopsy concluded he died of head and neck trauma that included a broken neck, spinal cord injuries and brain damage.
Council suffered minor injuries, returned to work shortly after recovering and was put on administrative duty.
Sheriff’s Office spokesman Capt. James Stevens confirmed Tuesday that Council has been suspended without pay.