Local news

Inmate’s wife sues over devastating but incorrect call

PORTLAND – A woman who claims she was mistakenly told that her husband died in prison is seeking up to $120,000 in a lawsuit filed in Multnomah County.

Tonya Jackson contends she received a voice mail in November, alerting her that Michael M. Jackson, 36, had died at the Snake River Correctional Institution in Ontario.

Jackson said she didn’t know it was false until the next day, long enough for her and her children to suffer emotional distress. The lawsuit claims the voice mail came from her husband’s counselor at the prison and includes what it says is a transcript of the voice mail.

In it, the counselor tells Jackson how to contact the chaplain, then says prison officials would need to verify how the death took place and “where the body is at this point” in order to contact a funeral home.

Jackson and her two sons, 12 and 11, “wailed and cried in hysteria over the death of their loved one,” the lawsuit says.

A prison spokeswoman told the Oregonian newspaper she could not discuss the case because of pending litigation.

Michael Jackson is now at the Oregon State Correctional Institution is Salem. He was incarcerated on May 30, 2002, for second-degree robbery.


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