Vigil honors woman killed by inmates: ‘She was a legend’

HERTFORD, N.C. (WAVY) — Jasmine Herring says she will never forgive the inmate or inmates who killed her mother, Veronica Darden, while trying to escape from the Pasquotank Correctional Institution.

“My momma did everything she could to help you and then you just do this to her?”

Herring, and other loved ones, are still coming to grips with the Oct. 12 deadly attacks inside the prison.

Justin Smith, a 35-year-old correctional officer, also died from injuries sustained from the inmates, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.

Darden’s family, friends and co-workers showed up by the dozens to Missing Mill Park on Tuesday.

The group lit candles, said prayers and recounted memories of a woman they say was a shining example of a good person.

“To me, she was a legend,” said Carmen Douglas, who was raised by Darden. “She loved and helped everyone. Whoever was in need, she took them in like they were her own.”

At least four inmates tried to escape, according to Sheriff Randy Cartwright, who says the men started a fire and then went on the attack inside the prison’s sewing plant.

The four men were captured in the prison yard.

Darden was the sewing plant supervisor.

“She helped them do the job that they were assigned to do and showed them how to do it. That wo man could sew,” said Cindy Scott, a longtime correctional officer. “She will be greatly missed.”

Sheriff Cartwright says he plans to meet with the district attorney later this week. He tells he expected a list of charges, including murder, to be filed.

Wendy Shannon, a correctional officer, and Geoffrey Howe, a maintenance mechanic, are still in critical condition at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.

Officials plan to identify the inmates involved when new charges are filed.