Oct 30, 2012 / 6:54 pm
The distraught mother of a prison inmate murdered by a calculating serial killer in their shared cell told a coroner's jury on Tuesday the officials who bunked her son with the convict should be fired.
"I keep asking myself and believe so should everyone else how (corrections) and their staff could put something so evil as Michael Wayne McGray in the same cell with my son or any other human being," said a tearful Lela Phillips.
"I would expect whoever did this has lost their jobs, not just transferred to another jail where they could do the same thing again. No other family should ever go through what we are going through," she said in a strained voice.
Jeremy Phillips, 33, was found dead in his cell at the medium-security Mountain Institute in Agassiz, B.C., in November 2010, about one week after he was put in the same cell as McGray.
The 45-year-old McGray was serving a life sentence for six murders, while Phillips, from Nova Scotia, was incarcerated on a six-year sentence for aggravated assault.
Phillips' mother, who was the final witness called at the two-day inquest, wiped her eyes while describing her son as a jokester who was always smiling, enjoyed camping, fishing and hiking, and who called home from prison often to express love to his father, who was dying of cancer.
"Jeremy has his flaws, just like me and everybody else in jail, but he had a big heart - bigger than most," she read to the jury from a note sent to her from one of his prison friends after he died.
The coroner's jury can't find fault in Phillips' death, instead its members are tasked with examining the safety of inmates in the prison system by making recommendations towards preventing similar deaths in the future.
They began deliberations on Tuesday afternoon.
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