NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— The father of an Orleans Justice Center inmate who died after a fight broke out in the jail is speaking out. He wants to know how it happened, and if anyone’s keeping other inmates safe.
Philip Soublet Sr. says his 31-year-old son Philip Jr., known as PJ, was his only child. He says he knows his son wasn’t perfect but says he didn’t deserve to die like this.
“He didn’t even live to go to trial,” Soublet told WGNO.
Soublet’s heartbreak is indescribable. On Saturday, PJ was beaten to death inside the OJC while awaiting trial.
“I had been so thankful, praising God for sparing me that call out here in these streets,” Soublet continued. “I had been so thankful, and then to hear that he lost his life in there waiting on trial.”
Soublet Jr. was awaiting trial for second-degree murder when he got into a deadly fight at OJC. His father says his son had a good heart, but was submerged in a life of drugs.
“Between the pill addiction and the streets of New Orleans, he just couldn’t shake it,” said Soublet.
The Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office has released limited details about what caused the fight, and Soublet says no one from the sheriff’s office ever reached out to him.
“The sheriff’s office has never even spoken to me.”
Sheriff Susan Hutson told WGNO in an exclusive interview Monday that her office is facing a staffing shortage. Soublet says more needs to be done – and he wants answers now.
“Where were the guards at, how long did it take them to respond to this incident, and how far away were they?” Soublet continued.
The sheriff’s office says Soublet Jr.’s death remains under investigation and they’ll release portions of the video of the incident as soon as their investigation is complete.
Soublet would’ve been 32 early next month, and leaves behind a 13-year-old son.
Almost exactly 24 hours later, another inmate, 46-year-old Chad Neyland was pronounced dead around 1:15 p.m. on Sunday after investigators said he attempted suicide. His cause of death has been listed as a traumatic brain injury and a cervical spinal fracture.
OPSO says Neyland arrived at the OJC just days earlier for an outstanding warrant out of Jefferson Parish. He had no known family and was believed to have been recently unhoused.