THE INNOCENT INMATE WHO DIED
From "Sustaining Serious Injuries"
Charles Fuston is dead. What MTWT would like to know from the coroner is how serious the injuries were? Were they the natural result of professional men subduing an escapee? Or were Mr. Fuston's injuries more brutal and extreme than was absolutely necessary to subdue if officer's were "Following Procedure".
NBC2 News Online - New details scarce in CCI investigation
NBC NEWS VIDEO
CHARLOTTE COUNTY, June 13, 2003 - Almost two days after Darla Lathrem was killed while supervising five inmates, a number of corrections officers are too stressed to go to work. Corrections officers from around the state are filling in. Although few new details have come out about the crime, there are many questions about the Department of Corrections policies. Late Friday evening, one of the inmates that was hospitalized after Wednesday night's incident died after being taken off life support.
* Send us your comments on this story
Charlotte Correctional Institution has been under lockdown since Wednesday night when Corrections officer Darla Lathrem was killed.
“This was a singular incident, this was cold blooded murder. This, basically they calculated. It didn’t matter who it was there at the time, be it Darla or be it any officer. They were calculating to kill somebody to escape,” said Al Shopp, of the Police Benevolent Association.
The Police Benevolent Association represents corrections officers. Shopp is closely watching every action relating to Lathrem’s death.
There are a couple of twists in the murder investigation. Many of the potential witnesses are being held captive. There is also speculation that the system itself may be partially to blame for Lathrem’s death.
“We’re going to take a look at the Department of Corrections policies. There will surely be an outcry,” said Senator Burt Saunders, R-Naples.
Saunders questions any protocol that would lead to something like Lathrem’s attack.
“It seems to me outrageous that a single correctional officer, male or female, would be supervising five inmates, especially when one of those inmates was in prison for life for a violent murder,” said Saunders.
New details about the crime are scarce. Sources from within the prison said an inmate may have witnessed the killing from an upstairs window.
FDLE is also trying to determine if Lathrem was wearing a “man down” alarm that would have signaled she was in trouble. They are standard issue, but inmates could have taken it.
All these questions are waiting to be answered
The facility remained in lockdown Friday, but it may be partially lifted Saturday afternoon to allow the prisoners to move around.
One of the inmates that was injured in the incident died at Lee Memorial Hospital Friday evening. According to the FDLE, Charles Fuston was removed from life support at approximately 9:50 p.m. Friday night. Fuston was one of the inmates working under the supervision of Corrections Officer Darla Lathrem who was killed Wednesday night. Fuston died Friday night after being taken off life supportAccording to Fuston's family, he had a history of theft, but never hurt anyone. They also said Fuston had injuries on the back of his head and believe he was injured while trying to help Lathrem.
Friday, June 13, 2003 8:10 PM
The News just reported that Charles Fuston, was taken off life support and had expired...
CHARLES B. FUSTON, DC#934675
DC Number: 934675
Name: FUSTON, CHARLES B
Hair Color: BLACK
Eye Color: BROWN
Birth Date: 06/19/1966
Initial Receipt Date: 10/08/1993
Current Facility: CHARLOTTE
Current Classification Status: NOT APPLICABLE
Current Custody: MEDIUM
Current Release Date: 08/01/2017
Hospitalized inmate from escape attempt dies
Local & State: Hospitalized inmate from escape attempt dies
Prisoner’s life support pulled
Friday, June 13, 2003
From staff reports
Charles Fuston, one of two inmates hospitalized after an escape attempt at the Charlotte Correctional Institution on Wednesday, died Thursday night after he was taken off life support.
Fuston, 36, died at 9:50 p.m., after sustaining serious injuries, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Fuston was one of the five inmates in a working group at CCI that was supervised by Correctional Officer Darla Lathrem. Lathrem, 38, of Fort Myers Shores, was killed in the escape attempt.
Fuston’s body will be sent to the Charlotte County Medical Examiner's Office where an autopsy will be performed, the FDLE said.
The investigation into to both deaths and the escape attempt is still ongoing.
For the latest news on the escape attempt, check back later at this Web site or pick up Saturday’s edition of The News-Press.
NOTE FROM MTWT: Picture is not the dead inmate - at least as of June 14th, the pictured inmate, DWIGHT T EAGLIN, was alive at FSP!
From left: Darla Kay Lathrem, Charles B. Fuston and *Tommy Eaglin
<SIC>See MTWT NOTE above.
e-mail Herald Tribune dot Com
Inmate dies from injuries
Charles Fuston, a prisoner injured in an escape attempt Wednesday by other inmates, dies Friday.
By JENNY LEE ALLEN
PUNTA GORDA -- One of two inmates attacked during a botched escape at Charlotte Correctional Institution died late Friday.
Charles B. Fuston, 36, was removed from life support at about 10 p.m. at Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers, said Florida Department of Law Enforcement spokesman Larry Long.
Fuston and another inmate were injured and a prison officer, Darla Kay Lathrem, was killed Wednesday night when Tommy Eaglin and two other inmates tried to escape during a work detail inside the prison.
Eaglin was moved after the attack to Florida State Prison in Raiford.
"That's the only place you can go. They've got the baddest of the bad up there," said Al Shopp, director of the Florida Police Benevolent Association, the union that represents corrections officers.
In the two years since he arrived at the state prison, Eaglin, a former professional boxer known as "The Fighting Irishman," had been cited for five disciplinary infractions, including three for violence.
Eaglin, who is serving a life sentence with no parole for a 1998 murder in Pinellas Park, was placed in solitary confinement after three of the incidents.
Lathrem, 38, was killed while supervising Eaglin and four other inmates who were renovating a prison dormitory. The inmates were using hammers and other tools.
The Department of Corrections has said Lathrem, who had been a corrections officer for just one year, was supervising the work crew alone that night. Officials said there are no policies that address how many officers should supervise such work details.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the killing, but has released few details about the crime.
On Friday, state investigators continued to interview corrections officers and inmates who knew the inmate suspects. After FDLE completes its investigation, the state will review the information to determine if any policies or procedures need to be altered.
Gov. Jeb Bush on Thursday said Lathrem had been beaten with a sledgehammer. An autopsy was completed Thursday evening, but the state case agent had not received the report yet.
The names of the three other inmates on the work crew have not been released. No charges have been filed.
Lathrem, of Fort Myers, was the first prison officer slain at Charlotte Correctional, and the first female officer ever killed in Florida.
Her four-page prison employment application, which she filled out in March 2002, showed that she held several other jobs before she started there.
While attending Edison Community College, Lathrem worked at Fyr Fyter Inc. She last held the title of office manager there.
She left in April 1997 after 14 years because she "needed change." Lathrem accepted a position as assistant manager at a Circle K in Cape Coral, then, two years later, moved to Jacksonville and got a job at ADT Security Systems.
Former ADT boss Robert Herring recalled Lathrem as a "real genuine person who went above and beyond to help customers." Lathrem first served as an emergency dispatch operator, and was promoted to customer service representative.
She next moved to Melbourne, where she worked for three months as a school bus driver in Brevard County. She resigned last January after deciding to try a new line of work in Fort Myers, where her parents lived.
Lathrem graduated from the Southwest Florida Criminal Justice Academy in Fort Myers.
Her decision to become a corrections officer caught several former employers off-guard. They described her as tentative and quiet.
"She was so soft-spoken it surprised me," Herring said. "She seemed more suited to do something like nursing."
Lathrem wrote in a job application that she was qualified to work at CCI because "I have good knowledge of computer operations, work well with people and have good health."
Funeral arrangements had not been announced Friday.
After Lathrem was killed, Eaglin and the two other inmates believed to be involved were transferred, a routine procedure during an investigation of an attack, according to Long. The FDLE would not say where the others were sent.
Officials have not determined whether Fuston and the other injured inmate were involved in the crimes. The other inmate was in fair condition at Lee Memorial.
An autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of Fuston's death.
The blond, blue-eyed Eaglin, whose chest bears a tattoo of a pair of boxing gloves, entered Charlotte Correctional in January 2001. Three years earlier, Eaglin slashed and stabbed John F. Nichols to death outside a topless bar in Pinellas Park.
Eaglin last talked to his grandfather, 78-year-old Kenneth Eaglin Sr., in January.
"He said he's getting along just fine," the New Washington, Ind., man said Friday. "He said he was working construction work. He was working right along."
The former welterweight's criminal history also includes battery, child abuse, and a DUI conviction.
"The only thing I can say is they better get rid of him," said Vito Diruggiero, 60, the father of Nichols' widow, Diane. "He's a boxer. He could kill you in a second with his hands. I don't know what it is with him."
Jodi Lane, assistant professor of criminology at the University of Florida, said prison procedures could be changed as a result of the fatal attack.
Prison officials might choose to stop allowing female officers to directly supervise inmates at prisons that house some of the worst criminals, she said. Or they might rule that two officers must always be present in similar situations.
"They will do whatever they can to keep it from happening again," Lane said, emphasizing that the issue primarily is one of numbers, not gender.
Eaglin was caught the night of Oct. 1, 2001, fighting inmate Raimundo Hogan, prison records show. Eaglin was placed in solitary confinement.
Six months later, an officer performing security checks spotted Eaglin giving an inmate a tattoo in a dormitory they were not assigned to. Eaglin was again put in solitary confinement.
On the afternoon of July 18, 2002, an officer found Eaglin fighting with inmate Joseph Morgan. Eaglin again was placed in solitary confinement.
On the morning of Feb. 26, an officer saw Eaglin pass a lighted cigarette to an inmate, who was in another dorm. Inmates are forbidden to smoke inside buildings, and are not allowed to pass such items. He was placed in administrative confinement.
On March 26, Eaglin attacked inmate John Morgan and was again placed in administrative confinement.Last modified: June 14. 2003 5:42AM
OVERVIEW OF FLORIDA PRISONS
FBI CITIZEN'S COMPLAINT
MTWT Prison Index