The parents of a young New Jersey man who died at the Mercer County Correctional Center (MCCC), Hopewell, two years ago have filed a wrongful death lawsuit, alleging the corrections officers were engaged in a conspiracy to kill their son.
Kalman “Kal” Gyorffy III and Christie Varra, parents of Anthony Gyorffy, filed the suit against Mercer County in January. Both minimum and maximum-security inmates are housed at the MCCC.
Death by Hanging in Cell or Death by In-Custody Beating?
Anthony Gyorffy, 22, was found hanging in his cell on in April, 2016.
The lawsuit claims he was beaten by corrections officers the previous day, then left in his cell unsupervised.
While the medical examiner ruled the death a suicide, the lawsuit alleges the beating “ultimately caused his death.” Gyorffy hanged himself with a bedsheet, which the suit states the corrections officers should have removed. He was still alive when found but put on life support at a hospital.
His family brought him back to their Bordentown home to die after doctors declared him brain dead.
Gyorffy was due for release in just three days. The day before the beating, Gyorffy had been permitted to participate in an intensive rehab program via the local drug court.
The Gyorffy family spokesperson called Anthony’s death “suspicious,” noting he had been placed in solitary confinement before he died. Gyorffy, whose father is a Trenton firefighter, was arrested on charges of robbing a senior citizen of her chain as he rode by on his bicycle.
Emails obtained by The Trentonian, a regional newspaper, to jail officials that other inmates saw Gyorffy taken to a secluded area of the facility – with no surveillance cameras - where he was attacked. These inmates claim they heard the young man begging the corrections officers to stop beating him.
No corrections officers were charged in the Gyorffy assault.
Another Beating by MCCC Corrections Officer Lawsuit
The Gyorffy lawsuit isn’t the only one filed against the county for an alleged beating of an inmate by corrections officers.
Inmate Rafael Jardines, 53, filed suit against MCCC and the warden in September, 2017. Jardines suffered a broken wrist, fractured eye socket and bruises all over his body after the beating.
According to the lawsuit, Jardines “mental anguish, emotional distress pain and humiliation from the assault,” and it claims his violation of his civil rights and “deliberate indifference” to his medical needs.
Two corrections officers have been charged in the Jardines’ May 11, 2016 beating.
Isaac Wood III and Trachell Syphax were engaged to be married at the time of the attack and have since wed. Both were charged just one month after Gyorffy’s death.
Wood was charged with one count of aggravated assault and two counts of official misconduct, while Syphax was charged with one count of official misconduct. Both were suspended after the attack.
According to prosecutors, Wood hit Jardines in the face, resulting in the inmate falling down. He was then kicked several times. Syphax allegedly stood by and did nothing during to help Jardines or stop the assault. Jardines supposedly did not do anything to incite or resist Wood.
Both officers are accused of filing false reports about the incident. There is no evidence the couple was involved in the Gyorffy beating.
Jardines, a Cuban national, was arrested for criminal mischief on April 29, 2016, two weeks prior to the beating. After hospitalization for his injuries, he was transferred to the Monmouth County Correctional Institution and held on a detainer by ICE, formally known as U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement.
Sexual Assault Charges vs MCCC Officials
Another lawsuit filed against the MCCC alleges officials did not act to prevent a known sexual predator from attacking an openly gay inmate. The two men were put together in a cell in October, 2015.
Kevin J. Taylor, a sex offender, allegedly sexually assaulted the man for the next two days. The gay inmate was in protective custody because of prior targeting by inmates, and the warden approved his placement in Taylor’s cell. The victim was the second man to make sexual assault allegations against Taylor in a short time period.
COs Tell of Serious Misconduct
The same attorney filed both the Gyorffy and Jardines lawsuits. She claims she has been contacted by MCCC corrections officers, both current and former, who told her about serious misconduct at the facility.
No one would go on the record for fear of retaliation by jail officials. Until that happens, the serious misconduct is likely to continue.
If you know of misconduct at MCCC, we want to hear from you to help our investigations and to help stop corrections officer and officials’ misconduct. If you or a loved one was injured or killed, you may be entitled to financial compensation. 866.836.4684 or CONNECT ONLINE