Family members of an inmate at Trousdale Turner Correctional Center are demanding an investigation into what they called a murder inside the facility last month.

CoreCivic, which owns the Hartsville prison, confirmed the death in a press statement by Public Affairs Manager Ryan Gustin.

“At approximately 2:07 a.m. (CST) on Thursday, December 17, Trousdale Turner Correctional Center staff discovered an unresponsive inmate. Staff immediately called a medical emergency. Facility medical staff immediately responded and begin administering emergency first aid and life-saving procedures. EMS responded to the facility, but the inmate passed away prior to being transported.

“Facility administrators notified the Tennessee Department of Correction’s (TDOC) Office of Investigations and Conduct (OIC). A full investigation of the incident by the TDOC OIC is underway, and Trousdale Turner staff are cooperating fully,” the statement read.

CoreCivic declined to identify the inmate, citing privacy requirements and referred all other inquiries to TDOC. A letter sent to media outlets, TTCC Warden Raymond Byrd, TDOC offices and to the District Attorney’s office by the inmate’s family identified him as Aaron Blayke Adams, 29. Tennessee’s TOMIS inmate identification system also lists Adams as ‘deceased.’

“He was murdered at Trousdale Turner,” Deborah Henson, Adams’ grandmother, said. “He was in protective custody because he was due to be released.”

CoreCivic would not confirm whether Adams had been in protective custody or was scheduled for release.

The letter claims that Adams “obtained broken bones and blunt force trauma, to his face and head, along with multiple bruising throughout his body,” and Henson added that the funeral home had to reconstruct Adams’ head while preparing the body for memorial services.

“It has been devastating to know that he was beaten so badly they had to recap his head and build up his lower jaw just so we could have an open casket,” she said.

The family’s letter alleges that Adams was killed by “a menace to society… who was already serving time for murdering his own father.”

“CoreCivic had a duty but failed to protect our beloved Blayke,” the letter states. ”Every inmate in their care should be treated humanely and safely secured while in their care. Blayke was not safe, and lost his life, due to the gross negligence of this facility.”

CoreCivic declined to identify the alleged party responsible for the death and the claim could not be confirmed at press time. The District Attorney’s office was closed for the New Year holiday and also could not be reached for comment at press time.

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