HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Alberto Garcia is accused of a heinous crime; sexually assaulting and murdering 5-year-old Janaya Thompson. Since there is a high probability of threats against inmates accused of these types of crimes against children, Harrison County Jail Warden Maj. David Sanderson said Garcia cannot be housed with the rest of the inmates.
Sanderson admits Garcia has received several threats against his life.
"It's because of his charges and the threats he has received internally and externally," Sanderson said.
Sanderson said jail officials are legally responsible for inmates' safety. That is why Garcia and the person of interest in Janaya's murder, Julian Gray, have both been placed in protective custody since being arrested July 18.
"You have to understand, just because they are inmates and they are housed here it's all about care, custody and control," Sanderson said. "We have to make sure the inmate is safe and secure and cared for as well."
This is also true when inmates are brought to court. You may remember a week and a half ago when Garcia had a hearing at the county courthouse, security was tight. Everyone entering the courtroom had to be patted down and checked.
"We wanted to make sure Mr. Garcia's safety was first," Sanderson said. "That's why, in his circumstances and in past circumstances with other inmates as well, we have done the same thing and made sure we had extra personnel for their safety."
Garcia is also on suicide watch, because the warden said he has attempted suicide. He must be checked on every 10 minutes and is placed in what jail officials call a "suicide safe cell."
"When a person makes threats to harm themselves, at that time they are evaluated by a social worker, licensed social worker or psychiatrist, and then they determine whether or not that person goes on suicide watch," Sanderson said.
Wednesday, Garcia was scheduled to have a preliminary hearing for the burglary charge, which is unrelated to the capital murder of Janaya Thompson. Garcia was escorted into the jail courtroom in a padded smock, and no other inmates were allowed in the courtroom while Garcia was in there.
Garcia did not end up going before the judge Wednesday. Instead, his attorney postponed the hearing for another two weeks.