Pinellas Sheriff says error led to two inmates in same cell - WFLA News Channel 8

Pinellas Sheriff says error led to two inmates in same cell

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PINELLAS COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri says an inmate killed in his cell shouldn't have been housed with the man now accused of choking him.

The sheriff said the error was found during the investigation into the death of 48-year-old Kelly Harding on Sunday in the Pinellas County Jail. "Ultimately this is our responsibility, we're responsible for making sure people are classified properly and making sure they're in the right status with us," said Gualtieri.

While Kelly Harding entered the jail last year on a felony burglary charge, in January he pled to a reduced charge of misdemeanor trespassing, but the jail system never made the change. Saturday evening, Greenberg, who was awaiting trial for second degree murder, was placed in Harding's cell. Deputies say early Sunday, Greenberg strangled Harding and stuffed his mouth with toilet paper.

Inmates charged with felonies are not supposed to be housed with those accused of misdemeanors.

"And that's what we have to find out why. I think it's a process problem and it's something that we have to delve into to fully flush it out and figure out how that's not going to happen again," said Gualtieri.

Harding's brother, Earl Harding of St. Petersburg, said his family is devastated. "Finding out it was because the sheriff's office made a mistake doesn't make it any easier," said Harding.

The sheriff's staff is conducting a full review of all sentenced inmates to make sure they are housed correctly.

In the meantime, Sheriff Gualtieri says investigation into what happened with Harding's status could take 30 days.

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