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Top leaders in the jail where 4 died degraded, took pay cuts

RALEIGH, N. C. – North Carolina prison officials cut the pay of two top administrators who had the responsibilities of leadership in a lockup, where four employees were killed last year during the deadliest breakout attempt in state history.

Both men were demoted and their salaries drastically by 26 percent in May for what was described as “gross inefficiency,” according to the staff records of prisons officials provided to The Associated Press on Thursday.

Pasquotank Correctional Institution Administrator Felix Taylor and assistant superintendent for the authority, activities, Colbert Respass were suspended earlier this year after an external study it appears that several security lapses in the prison has contributed to the slaughter in October last year.

Taylor now evaluates to appeal by prisoners who are disciplined in prisons in eastern North Carolina. Respass retired in August after 31 years.

A National Institute of Corrections evaluation report released in January said the Pasquotank prison was so understaffed that workers cut corners in a way that created opportunities for the deadly breakout attempt. Employees of the prison, where one in four positions was free, handed over to the detainees tasks, such as handing out a pair of scissors with a six-inch knives, hammers and other tools to co-prisoners who work in the factory that the safety vests, the federal report said.

Four prisoners now charged with first-degree murder, used weapons including a claw hammer, a ball-peen hammer and a half-scissors, medical researchers said. The lone officer guarding the sewing plant in the neighborhood where the violence started was stabbed 67 times.

North Carolina prison officials have refused to make a report of their internal investigation of the failed breakout, saying publication would be detrimental to the murder investigations.

Pasquotank County District Attorney Andrew Womble said that he expected that the first trial will start in the first half of next year.

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Follow Emery P. Dalesio on Twitter http://twitter.com/emerydalesio . His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/emery%20dalesio

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