Delayed inquest into 2017 death of EMDC inmate to go forward in November

Razor wire fence lines the outside of the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre, a maximum security prison on Exeter Road, in London, Ont. Andrew Russell / Global News

An inquest will be held next month into the death of a 24-year-old inmate at London’s troubled provincial jail five years ago, the province announced Friday.

In a statement, the Ministry of the Solicitor General said Dr. Elizabeth Urbantke, regional supervising coroner for West Region, had set a Nov. 21 date for the inquest, which will examine the death of Murray James Davis at the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre.

Davis was in the custody of EMDC, located along Exter Road in south London, when he died on Aug. 17, 2017.

The inquest, which will be held at the Ivey Centre and is mandatory under the Coroners Act, will last five days with 13 witnesses. It will examine the circumstances surrounding his death.

“The jury may make recommendations aimed at preventing future deaths in similar circumstances,” the ministry advisory states. Dr. David Eden will be the presiding officer and Julian Roy and Vanessa Decker will be the inquest counsel.

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Read more: Sept. 14, 2022: Investigations launched into death of inmate at EMDC, the facility’s 20th since 2009

It’s the second time that a date has been scheduled for an inquest into the 24-year-old’s death.

In early 2020, the province named Davis as the subject of a joint inquest that would also examine the deaths of EMDC inmates Floyd Deleary, 39, in August 2015, and Justin Thompson in October 2016.

Davis’ inquest, however, was halted after an inmate’s testimony suggested his death was the result of a killing, according to a London Free Press report.

The joint inquest later determined that Deleary died of acute fentanyl toxicity, while Thompson’s cause of death was deemed cocaine toxicity.

Eighty recommendations were made by the jury following the inquest, with the first being that the province consider replacing the jail.

At least 20 inmates have died at EMDC since 2009, most recently in September. Three inmates died at the facility in 2021, two within a matter of days.

The inquest into Davis’ death will be at least the seventh involving an inmate at the jail.

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