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Corrections officer acquitted in death of inmate

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Megan N. Moore, 21, of Millville was arrested Feb. 18, 2017 and was founding hanging in her cell at the Cumberland County Jail Feb. 20, 2017. (Barr Funeral Home)


Bill Duhart
nj.com
(TNS)

A county jail guard was acquitted this week of criminal charges stemming from the 2017 death by suicide of an inmate, the Cumberland County prosecutor said Wednesday.

Corrections officer Tabatha Roman, 37, was indicted on a third-degree charge of endangering another person for allegedly failing to perform checks on Megan Moore, 21, who was jailed following her arrest on outstanding warrants. She was found hanging in her cell on Feb. 20, 2017.

“It was our duty to seek justice on behalf of Megan N. Moore who died by suicide under Ms. Roman’s care and watch,” Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae said in an email to NJ Advance Media on Wednesday. “While we’re disappointed with the outcome, we must accept the verdict rendered by the judge.”

Webb-McRae said Roman was acquitted in the bench trial.

“It was a tragic situation,” Roman’s attorney, Michael Testa, Sr. told NJ Advance Media on Wednesday. “But the answer isn’t to try to find a fall person to take responsibility.”

Testa said Roman was very emotional when she heard the Superior Court judge’s ruling.

“All along, this is what she expected and why she did not try to resolve it on a pretrial basis,” Testa said. “She believed she was innocent.”

A lawsuit filed by Moore’s family was settled in 2022 for $500,000, with the county covering $475,000 and CFG Health Systems responsible for the remainder.

Attorneys have settled a total of seven federal lawsuits brought by families of men and women who died by suicide while held in the Cumberland County jail.

The cost to settle the lawsuits totaled more than $2.3 million, court documents show.

Editor’s note: NJ Advance Media typically limits reporting on suicides to those that occur in crowded public places, involve public figures or, in special circumstances, where there is a larger public impact. Suicidal thoughts and behaviors can be reduced with the proper mental health support and treatment. If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.

Staff writer Matt Gray contributed to this report.

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