While incarcerated in the Snyder County Prison on April 17th, 2007, twenty-nine year-old Jeremy Wayne Dock was beaten by guards and/or others while in protective custody for “his own safety.” Former Snyder County District Attorney Michael Sholley, current District Attorney Michael Piecuch, Coroner Bruce Hummel, Prison Board Solicitor Robert Cravitz, PSP Trooper Richard Blair and Dr. Barbara Bollinger (the county’s hired pathologist) insist he committed suicide by hanging himself with a bed sheet. In our opinion (and based on the limited information they’ve given us access to); we strongly disagree with their consensus!
The previous summer, Jeremy was coerced by Snyder County Probation, Officer Kerry Davis into working as a confidential informant for Gary Heckman, an agent from the PA Attorney General’s Office. He was released from jail for the explicit purpose of making controlled drug purchases and did as they requested throughout the summer. As summer ended Jeremy was expected to make buys from Jay, a heroin dealer in Allentown, which he refused to do because he feared retaliation. Jeremy became unproductive for them, so he was again incarcerated at the Snyder County Prison on probation/ parole violations for a supposed ‘hot urinalysis’ test.
Jeremy’s girlfriend contacted Gary Heckman to ask for his help. Jeremy was again pressured to help set up the heroin dealer in Allentown, which Gary told Jeremy would cut his impending state prison sentence in half. Jeremy declined to provide any further assistance because he feared for his family’s safety. It was then he was abandoned by his mentors, Kerry Davis and Gary Heckman. After his re-incarceration in Sept. 2006, Jeremy’s “confidential informant” status was exposed by one who had the distinct responsibility of protecting his identity.
At the end of October 2006 the Snyder County District Attorney’s office alleges that a smuggling ring was operating within the Snyder County Prison involving outside persons. An investigation was conducted by Enoch Powell, a detective from District Attorney Sholley’s office. According to Jeremy’s letters, during interrogation on November 13th he gave Powell information on others involved in the smuggling. He also wrote “he’s (Powell) already talked to people in here cause when they walk past or I go out in the hall they call me a snitch, plus… (another inmate) just told me today that one of the CO’s (Correction Officers) told him what I did; they (guards) are not supposed to be saying shit like that, so you and Gram need to call my lawyer John Reed about getting me transferred to Union County.” Also present at the interrogation on Nov. 13th was Watch Commander Donald Campbell who witnessed Jeremy’s statement that implicated no less than a dozen people in the smuggling.
In a letter dated 11/15/06 Jeremy writes “I’m down here in f…… Protective Custody now” and “since I’m only PC (Protective Custody) I get a whole 2 hours of rec. instead of 1, Oh!!! The benefits of being a snitch you got to love it (not)! Do you have any idea what it’s like to go out in the hall now when they escort me and don’t have any inmate movement they (guards) are basically telling the whole jail I’m a snitch, are they going to come home with me, and protect me and my family?”
As a result of the harassment; followed by a beating by guards, Jeremy made a written request, intended for Warden Ruth Rush, but that was intercepted by, and responded to by Watch Commander Donald Campbell in which Jeremy writes “I am writing you in regards to my housing status, how is it that I have to be housed down here, when I can be placed on G-Wing. There have been child molesters that have been placed up there simply by Mr. Reade (the Deputy Warden) telling the wing that if anyone touches them they will be criminally charged. I am willing to take that chance! And if not I request that I be transferred to Union County in accordance with a violation of my 14th Amendment. Thank you. Jeremy W. Dock. ” The response from WC Campbell reads “You know why you are locked up you will remain where you are located.”
In another letter dated 11/24/06 Jeremy said, “I’m in P.C. (Protective Custody) because of telling them what they wanted to know” and later “because there is supposedly so many people in this jail pissed off at me.”
On 11/27/06 Jeremy writes “I spoke with the Warden (Ruth Rush) and she is going to see about getting me out of the hole and housing me but I don’t know if that’s going to work, because supposedly there are so many people pissed at me and if they can’t figure out a way to house me then I’m probably going to Union County.”
Shortly thereafter, he was transferred to Union County Prison where he was in the general population for an uneventful 4 1/2 months. During that time Jeremy told his girlfriend and/or his father on at least three separate occasions that if he was returned to Snyder County Prison he was “a dead man.”
Jeremy was returned to Snyder County Prison and again placed in so-called Protective Custody on April 13th, 2007. This was six days prior to a scheduled appearance at a court hearing where he planned to reveal information about guards and other inmates involved with the drug trafficking within the prison. Jeremy had also acquired information about the unsolved murder of Donald E. Seebold III, which he planned to reveal to his newly appointed attorney.
Less than four days later he was dead!
A cover-up followed Jeremy’s death that continues to this day, leaving his family and friends with many questions? Why would Enoch Powell indiscriminately divulge the name of anyone cooperating with him in an investigation? Why was Jeremy given up as a ‘snitch’ by the very people who had a distinct responsibility to protect his identity as a confidential informant? Who made the decision to return Jeremy to the unsafe environment at the Snyder County Prison;and why? Who made the decision to control the situation ‘in house’ and do extremely lengthy CPR at the jail as opposed to transporting Jeremy to a hospital, which was only minutes away? Who decided they needed to re-create the crime scene (for photos by Trooper Blair) by hanging the sheet back on the cell door and placing Jeremy’s personal effects back in the cell after they had been moved immediately to the Deputy Wardens office an hour earlier? Why was the evidence not properly secured? By their own admission Deputy Warden Donald Reade and Watch Commander Donald Campbell handled scene evidence and placed items into storage later. Why are there so many discrepancies and errors within PSP Trooper Rick Blair’s report and the incident reports given by those present during Jeremy’s death? Why did officials feel the need to mislead and lie to family members from that first day? Is it not a clear conflict of interest for former District Attorney Sholley and current District Attorney Piecuch (both sitting members of the Snyder County Prison Board) to be responsible for investigating a murder at the county prison? Why do law enforcement and medical professionals, not involved with this case, view this information in a different light than do those who should be held accountable for the decisions made that day? Is there a connection between Jeremy’s death and that of Alan M. Willow, a friend and fellow inmate, who also met an untimely death, shortly after being released from the Snyder County Prison, just three short months after Jeremy’s death? What really happened to Jeremy at the Snyder County Prison?
Judge John E. Jones threw this case out without even giving the Dock family the chance for discovery, and in typically abusive fashion. Why? Judge Jones is from Schuylkill County, and is believed to have political friends in Snyder County. Was he protecting them by his decision?
Visit http://www.JeremysJustice.com to discover more about this story dedicated to the memory of Jeremy W. Dock and the hope that the truth will finally come to light.