ONLY ON 12: Mother of inmate killed in prison says the system failed him

News 12 at 11/ Monday, July 8, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Right now there are more questions than answers about the death of an inmate at the Augusta State Medical Prison.

Last week the coroner confirmed 29-year-old Shannon Grier had been stabbed to death. Sources on the inside told us there's a lot more to it, so we kept digging.

Our investigation continues with new information from Shannon's own mother.

In a candid interview, Leisha Givens talks about her son's molestation charges and admits she's still searching for the truth about his death. But between recent conversations with her son and calls from other inmates, she's slowly putting the pieces together, and so are we.

"They were supposed to protect him. They were supposed to keep him safe, and they didn't. They failed him," mother Leisha Givens said.

Those are words from a grieving mother sinking in after her son was killed in prison. Most of the information came not from the warden but from other inmates who called her.

"That's when I found out he had been stabbed multiple times," Givens said.

Her son was serving a 25-year sentence for Aggravated Child Molestation and Aggravated Sodomy charges, but his mother says that's still no excuse to be killed.

"Some people are not very sympathetic to your son because he was imprisoned for some very serious charges," News 12 asked.

Givens responded, "This is not about the charges. This is about someone took his life. He didn't take anyone's life."

She says Shannon was in a relationship with another inmate at the prison and had even talked to that other inmate over the phone.

"Called me on several different times crying to try and get me to convince Shannon to get back with him, to stick with him," Givens said.

Givens says she thought nothing of it until her son called her afraid.

"Said if he can't have him nobody can," she remembers.

Now she wonders what went wrong that left her son dead. Last week, News 12 also got calls from sources inside the prison claiming sometimes procedures are not followed when it comes to opening cell doors.

"You come back from chow and you call out, 'hey 116-223,' and they pop the button to let you in. But if they don't know you don't live in that room and you just holler it out, then they'll pop that door. That's how people get stabbed while they're sleeping," the source said.

"What would you say to those people that hold this hard and fast opinion that it was deserved?" News 12 asked Givens.

"Wait until it hits close at home. You wouldn't feel that way," she responded.

Both the GBI and the Department of Corrections are investigating the death as a homicide. So far, no one has been arrested yet.

Sources inside the prison told us Grier was sleeping when he was stabbed. His mother has heard the same thing.

We've tried multiple times to get any of the multiple agencies involved in the investigation to comment about this.Each time they say it's an open investigation. We can't release that information.


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