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Mother uses Beckley Town Hall meeting to confront Governor Justice regarding son’s death in West Virginia’s Southern Regional Jail

By Josephine E. Moore The Register-Herald

BECKLEY, W.Va. — The mother of Quantez Burks, whose son died on March 1 while incarcerated for less that 24 hours at Southern Regional Jail, pleaded with West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice for answers during a town hall Thursday in Beckley.

While the dozens who packed the conference room at Tamarack were there to hear about the governor’s proposed plan to cut personal income taxes, Kimberly Burks said she was there to hold the state’s top man accountable for the injustice she believes her son suffered.

“I have not received a phone call from the state, from the police department or anybody acknowledging that something happened to my son at the (Southern Regional Jail),” Burks said to Justice after he opened up the room to questions from the audience.

Burks said the state’s pathologist has stated that her son died of hypertensive cardiac arrest, which was ruled as a natural cause.

However, an independent autopsy conducted by the Burks family came to a different conclusion, Kimberly Burks said.

According to the family’s private autopsy, which was discussed by the family attorney at a press conference last year, Quantez Burks died of a heart attack after sustaining blunt force trauma to his body and fractured bones in his forearm and wrist. …

In his initial response to Kimberly Burks, Justice said he had already addressed her questions and concerns.

“I have addressed this 15 different times,” Justice said. “… And I have absolutely said it and I’ll say it till I go to my grave and that is just as simple as this. We have investigated and investigated, and we will continue to do whatever we got to do because with what you’re saying – and I’ve gotta be just dead level honest – with some level of smoke there has to be some level of fire.”

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