Lawsuit partially blames Pinckneyville prison for inmate death - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Lawsuit partially blames Pinckneyville prison for inmate death

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PINCKNEYVILLE, Ill. -- The ex-wife of an inmate who died at the Pinckneyville Correctional Center claims jail staffers are partially to blame.

Megan Little filed a federal lawsuit against the warden of the prison after Earl Little died in July.

Daniel Mueller is serving a 30-year prison sentence after strangling his girlfriend to death in 2012 in Springfield. The lawsuit says he was cellmates with Earl Little inside the Pinckneyville Correctional Center while Little was serving a 21-year sentence for an armed robbery in DuPage County.

On July 6, 2018, family members believe Mueller strangled Little to death. They also believe his death was preventable.  

Little's ex-wife, Megan, filed the lawsuit as the administrator of his estate.  

She said Little "was denied his constitutional right to be protected from violence at the hands of other prisoners," and that acting warden Scott Thompson failed to act on information that Mueller was a "danger to his fellow inmates."

The Illinois Attorney General's office denied the claims in a court filing in response to the lawsuit. The Attorney General's office is responsible for defending Illinois state employees in certain lawsuits.

A spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Corrections said the investigation into Little's death is ongoing and declined to comment further.

The State Journal-Register in Springfield reports Mueller was moved to Menard Correctional Center the day after Little's death, and now records show he's housed at the Lawrence Correctional Center.

Perry County State's Attorney David Searby would be responsible for filing criminal charges against Mueller. He said he couldn't comment on a pending investigation.  

A message seeking comment from the lawyer of Megan Little has not been returned.

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