Friends, Family of Uniece Fennell Want the Durham County Sheriff Held Accountable for Her Death in Jail | Triangulator | Indy Week
Pin It

Friends, Family of Uniece Fennell Want the Durham County Sheriff Held Accountable for Her Death in Jail 

On Friday, outside the Durham County Detention Center, chants of "shut it down" and "no justice, no peace" echoed against the jail's exterior. Orange blurs pressed against the building's barred windows and waved. Down below, the family and friends of Uniece Fennell, who eight days earlier was also behind those bars, waved back.

Fennell, who was seventeen, was found dead at the jail March 23. The Sheriff's Office says she committed suicide by hanging herself with a sheet tied to a bar on the window in her cell. Her family doesn't buy it.

The State Bureau of Investigation is investigating Fennell's death, but the family wants the inquiry taken beyond the SBI. They're also asking that the county sheriff be held accountable for failing to fix what they call "the long-known problem of the risk of the bars in certain cells and all other unsafe conditions."

About two dozen people gathered Friday morning to make these demands and remember Fennell. Some commemorated "the Fennell Twins"; Fennell's twin brother, Demoraea, was shot and killed in November. "My daughter, Niecey Fennell, was a minor being held in an adult facility that could not provide the basic necessities for a minor, including safety," Julia Graves said in a statement released Friday morning. "Niecey [would] not harm herself, due to her religious beliefs." 

Fennell was jailed last summer after being charged with the murder of a nineteen-year-old. Her friends and family say she was not a murderer but was threatened and forced to go along on a July 10 drive-by shooting committed by another person who has not yet been apprehended.

Talking on speakerphone from California, Graves said she is seeking an independent autopsy. "She has what appears to be a broken nose, black eye, and bruising everywhere on both sides of her body. Not consistent with the way they said she killed herself," says the family's fundraising site, which seeks money to transport Fennell's body to California.

Fennell's mother also finds it strange that her daughter's death came less than a day after Fennell's attorney complained to a jail official of Fennell's alleged harassment by a detention officer. The Sheriff's Office says Fennell submitted no formal complaints and that the officer in question resigned two weeks before attorney Alex Charns emailed the complaint to Major Julian Couch.

"We need to know exactly what happened that night," said Tarshella Fountain, Fennell's sister.

This article appeared in print with the headline "+DEATH AT THE JAIL."

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Triangulator



Twitter Activity

Comments

You interviewed and photographed eight people about the new Raleigh logo, and only 2 of them are Raleigh residents? That …

by frgyandres on What’s the First Thing You Think of When You See Raleigh’s New Logo? (Triangulator)

Looks like "weed". Will we be the next Colorado?

by Bud Light on What’s the First Thing You Think of When You See Raleigh’s New Logo? (Triangulator)

Most Recent Comments

You interviewed and photographed eight people about the new Raleigh logo, and only 2 of them are Raleigh residents? That …

by frgyandres on What’s the First Thing You Think of When You See Raleigh’s New Logo? (Triangulator)

Looks like "weed". Will we be the next Colorado?

by Bud Light on What’s the First Thing You Think of When You See Raleigh’s New Logo? (Triangulator)

I am trying to get answers to. About my brother death in Durham county jail am just read all this …

by Tenisa Ruffin on Durham County Jail Provider Correct Care Solutions Faces Scrutiny (Triangulator)

This might have been a close call amid Wake's many needs, but Commissioners Calabria, Burns, Portman, and Hutchinson surely made …

by Leanne Sigmon on Over Their Own Staff’s Objection, Wake Commissioners Move Forward With a $23 Million Park (Triangulator)

Demolish the building and start fresh on the site with a mix of uses - small retail, office or lab …

by Durham451 on What Should Durham Do With Its Soon-Vacant Police Headquarters? (Triangulator)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation