Prosecutors seeking death penalty against 4 Pasquotank inmates

Three suspects of a failed Pasquotank prison break are seen in court (dressed in gray) on Dec. 6, 2017. From left to right: Wisezah Buckman, Mikel Brady and Seth Frazier. Prosecutors were seeking the death penalty against all three. (Credit: WAVY/Erin Kelly).

PASQUOTANK, N.C. (WAVY) — Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against all four inmates charged in the failed Pasquotank Correctional Institution escape — Wisezah Buckman, Seth Frazier, Mikel Brady and Jonathan Monk.

Related: Officials release audio of 911 calls from prison incident

State officials say the inmates started a fire in the facility’s sewing plant in October. According to police, the inmates then tried to escape the prison, but were caught before leaving the prison yard. During the chaos, several people were hurt and hospitalized. Four prison workers died in the attack.

Prosecutors charged the inmates with first-degree murder in connection with the incident. In October, the inmates were indicted on several other charges, including burning a public building, felony riot and assault with a deadly weapon. A grand jury also met this week, increasing the charges.

District Attorney Andrew Womble pointed to several aggravating factors for his decision to seek the death penalty.

“The fact that they were lawfully incarcerated and that the crimes were committed during an attempt to escape and also that the crimes were effectuated upon law enforcement officers who were acting in the course and scope of their employment at the time,” Womble said.

But the justice system can’t give the victims’ families justice, he said.

“It may give them some peace of mind that this will not happen to someone else, but as far as justice goes, we’re inadequate to deal with the loss that they’re feeling at this time,” Womble said.

 

Related: Numbers indicate shortage of officers during prison incident

The prison has remained on the lockdown since the deadly attack. Meanwhile, the prison’s sewing plant where the ambush happened has been closed indefinitely.