A dark road in Jackson, Mississippi. An unexpected police stop. A young man’s life cut short the day before he starts college. These all formed the first part of the final hours of 18-year old Andre Jones’ life. Days after they got the news that his death was a suicide, the Quinns looked into their son’s death and find not only conflicting accounts but also that his death was likely racially motivated and carried out law enforcement.
How Did Andre Jones Die?
Jones’ body was found in a shower stall. Police claim that he used a shoelace to hang himself from a grate above the showerhead. Charles Quinn went to observe the scene and found that the grate was roughly eight feet above. His conclusion was either someone needed to assist his son in hanging himself or he needed a stool.
A state-approved pathologist, Dr. Steven Hayne, stated that it would be possible for the young man to hang himself without help. Hayne also performed Jones’ autopsy. He stated that the grate was “easily reached by a member of the sheriff’s office who was acting as the decedent.”
The Quinn’s pathologist, Dr. James Bryant, looked at the findings and said that he believed that Jones was strangled. He found that the marks on Jones’ neck were inconsistent with suicide by hanging and more in line with being strangled from behind.
Of note is the official report that there were no marks on Jones’ neck. Against, Dr. Bryant’s observations conflicted with this finding. He found “bruising under one of his eyes and also he had some bruising on the shoulder of the same side.” Not only that, but there was also blunt force trauma during Jones’ time at the jail.
In 1993 a new medical examiner was installed by the state of Mississippi. Dr. Emily Ward looked into Jones’ death and other strange suicides that occurred in jails. She came to the conclusion that it was “extremely unlikely” that anything nefarious happened and that the deaths were suicides.
The Department of Justice found that Mississippi’s jail system was rife with poor conditions for inmates and poorly trained employees. Unfortunately, the DOJ came to the same conclusion that Jones’ death wasn’t murder. After two dismissed lawsuits against the state and the federal government, the Quinns are still seeking justice for Andre Jones.