Skip to Content

Family of man who died in Jefferson City Correctional Center asks for video


The family of a man who died this month in the Jefferson City Correctional Center has hired legal representation to gather information for a lawsuit.

Othel Moore, 38, died in the Jefferson City Correctional Center on Dec. 8, according to the Missouri Department of Corrections. The Cole County Sheriff's Department is conducting an independent investigation into the death. Director of Communications for Disparti Law Jason Baumann, part of the family's legal team, told ABC 17 News on Tuesday that the family is asking for video and names of the correctional officers involved before moving forward with a lawsuit.

The Missouri Department of Corrections did not respond to ABC 17's request for comment on Moore's death. Moore had been in prison since 2005 serving 30 years for domestic assault, robbery and drug charges. He had six years left on his sentence.

Othel Moore
Courtesy: the Moore Family

Oriel Moore, Othel Moore's sister, said she wants accountability for her brother's death.

"To hear someone tell me my brother was screaming that he couldn't breathe and I couldn't help him pulls the life out of me; I'm crushed. He has always been there for me, now I understand these people [MoDOC] are animals, now I understand why he was scared to eat and scared to sleep," Oriel Moore said.

Oriel Moore said her brother was worried about alleged abuse from the correctional system for years before his death.

"For the last six years, he'd been complaining to me about the abuse and mistreatment that he'd been getting from the correctional officers, specifically, that he couldn't eat his food," Oriel Moore said.

Moore's family is holding a news conference with lawyers from a civil rights law firm Tuesday afternoon.

“On December 8, 2023, everything changed for the Moore family as Othel Moore Jr., a 38-year-old African American man became the latest victim of unconstitutional and violent abuse within the Jefferson City Correctional Center,” said Andrew M. Stroth, civil rights attorney representing the Moore family.

According to data from the Missouri Justice Coalition, 116 people had died in the custody of the Missouri Department of Corrections as of Nov. 12, which would make Moore's death at least the 117th this year.

The Missouri Department of Corrections confirmed these numbers, and clarified that the death rate inside Missouri prisons is lower than the death rate in the state as a whole. The most common causes of death are cancer and heart disease, according to the Department of Corrections.

"For context, about 38,000-40,000 people have been incarcerated in Missouri state prisons at some point during the course of the year (about 23,500 on any given day. That makes the prison population death rate about 3.1 per 1,000 people. In the state of Missouri as a whole, the most recently reported death rate is about 9.1 per 1,000 people," Communications Director Karen Pojmann said in an email.

The Missouri Justice Coalition said Moore was excessively pepper sprayed by the JCCC Emergency Response Team before his head was covered with a hood, his body was wrapped and he was strapped to a restraint cart. The coalition said Moore was then taken to a dry cell in Housing Unit 8.

"MoDOC policy states that when extractions and mobilizations like this are performed, a staff member and medical personnel should monitor the person at all times. This did not happen, Mr. Moore was left unattended for several hours struggling to scream that he could not breathe. Several hours later when medical personnel did come to his cell, she discovered that he was unresponsive," the Missouri Justice Coalition release said.

Stroth and the legal team refused to clarify how they learned details of Moore's death until their investigation is done.

"What we know is that after spraying Othel and attacking him and putting him in the wrap is that people heard him say he couldn't breathe Othel Moore, couldn't  breathe. We also understand  that he was screaming. He couldn't breathe, and that was blood coming out of his ears, blood coming out of his mouth," Stroth said.

In 2021, Moore filed a lawsuit claiming abuse by the correctional center guards and a nurse. He was at a different correctional center at the time, South Central Correctional Center in Licking.

Article Topic Follows: Jefferson City

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

Hannah Falcon

Hannah joined the ABC 17 News Team from Houston, Texas, in June 2021. She graduated from Texas A&M University. She was editor of her school newspaper and interned with KPRC in Houston. Hannah also spent a semester in Washington, D.C., and loves political reporting.


ABC 17 News is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content