Md. Found Negligent In Prison Bus Slaying

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Maryland jury has awarded the family of an inmate murdered by another Supermax prisoner back in 2005 $18.5 million.

Andrea Fujii reports.

A jury found the state of Maryland and four correctional officers negligent in the death of Philip Parker Jr. Parker’s family says they hope this settlement is a wake-up call and causes change in the prison system.

Parker was halfway through his sentence for attempted robbery when he boarded a prison bus in 2005. When the bus arrived in Baltimore, he was dead and corrections officers found Kevin Johns covered in his blood. Johns admitted to strangling Parker without guards ever noticing.

Called a ticking time bomb, Johns was bipolar and claimed he heard the devil’s voice. He’d been convicted of murder twice before and killed himself in 2009.

“The meanest, baddest man in Baltimore prison system. He was a coward. Each and every one of his victims were incapacitated,” said Parker’s mother, Melissa Rodriguez.

Parker’s parents spoke exclusively to WJZ following Johns’ death.

“I believe in karma. I believe you do something evil to somebody so many times, it’s going to come back to you,” said Philip Parker Sr.

They filed suit, claiming guards didn’t properly shackle Johns and weren’t properly monitoring the prisoners. A jury ruled four of those officers were negligent, one of them grossly negligent.

“Someone has to stand up and say `Enough is enough. Let’s do something about this.’ And until then, there’s going to be 50,000 more killings,” said Rodriguez.

While Monday’s ruling won’t bring their son back, they hope it may prevent another family from going through the same pain.

Parker’s father says the only disappointment is that all four officers weren’t ruled grossly negligent.

The state plans to file post-trial motions.

Two of the corrections officers were fired. One was allowed to retire and two more were disciplined after Parker’s death.

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