Family, friends looking for circumstances surrounding death of inmate

Local News

A grieving family in Orleans County is searching for answers after the suspicious death last year of Delmus Tanner at Greene Correctional Facility in Coxsackie, New York.

Tanner was convicted of numerous drug charges and was sentenced to five years in prison in 2016. It was on November 9 of last year that Tanner was found unresponsive in his “big box” solitary cell, and transported to Albany Medical Center, put on life support, and later died. His ex-wife, who lives in Batavia, wants to know precisely what happened to him. 

Ashley Farrell says, “I looked over his entire body, there was nothing on him, there were no marks on him, no bruises, it didn’t look like he was in a fight, the only mark was the mark around his neck.”

Farrell says Tanner’s eyes were swollen and red, and he had fluid in his lungs from a bout with pneumonia. She feels the swollen eyes are likely from some form of pepper spray. There was a quote, “rope-like figure” found in the cell with him, but Farrell does not think this was suicide; his death certificate shows he died specifically of strangulation. Farrell says the State Police told her they would have the investigation into Tanner’s death wrapped up by January 1.

“We’re waiting still, and they’ve stopped returning our calls,” adds Farrell. 

Tanner’s death is not the only passing to draw attention at Greene Correctional; Anthony Myrie died after a fight with inmates this month, the official cause of death yet to be released. Delmus Tanner’s Former girlfriend Amy Cook is hoping both of their passings can be used to further a greater narrative on the prison system itself.

Cook says, “People are swept under the rug, they’re forgotten about. Let’s start treating people with humanity and respect.”

“People do get forgotten about and things do get swept under the rug, and Delmus will not get swept under the rug,” adds Farrell. 

The New York State Police says Tanner’s death is still under investigation, and are awaiting a toxicology report. The Department of Corrections has no comment at this time due to the ongoing investigation. 

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