Two weeks after her death in the Durham County Detention Center, Uniece “Niecey” Fennell will be memorialized at a funeral service for her family and friends today, Thursday, April 6. Although her mother is glad to have her daughter’s body near her now (and is appreciative to those who have donated), this day will bring no solace or peace. And that is because there are many more questions than answers surrounding Niecey’s death on March 23. Seeing Niecey’s body in person has left her mother, Julia Graves, more convinced than ever that, with the bruising all over her body, she was beaten and that the state of her body is not consistent with that of a hanging, as the jail asserts happened. Niecey’s mother believes “it was not a suicide.” The jail, through its various media mouthpieces, has been able to get away with asserting that a detention officer that had given Niecey a particularly hard time had resigned two weeks before an email her lawyer sent Major Couch about the abusive behavior. The only problem with this narrative? The email exchange between Niecey’s attorney and Couch and his legal advisor, Curtis Massey, does not actually name an officer. Not exactly artful liars, this bunch.
Although the NC chief medical examiner’s autopsy has not been completed yet, Julia is not confident that it will tell the entire story. How closely does the CME work with detention officials? Why was Uniece’s body moved by the jail to a funeral home in Durham so soon after her death, and before her mother was aware of it and well before she signed off on releasing it? How come no one from the jail has contacted her to let her know what she should expect and when she should expect it regarding the autopsy?
Due to all these questions, and many, many more, Julia would like to pay for a second, independent autopsy in order to gain some closure and in order to hold the sheriff’s office and jail officials responsible for Niecey’s death. Thus, please keep the donations coming in to help pay for the second autopsy. Share the following link as widely as possible:
No donation is too small.
If you’re in Durham, come out this Sunday:
R.I.P. Niecey. Justice for: Niecey. We love you, Niecey.