Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri is taking responsibility for the death of an inmate at the Pinellas County Jail over the weekend.
Kelly Harding, 48, was strangled in his cell with wet toilet paper stuffed down his throat. Harding was in jail on a misdemeanor theft charge.
His accused killer, 28-year-old Scott Greenberg, was in jail for murder. Why were these two men sharing the same cell? The sheriff called it a perfect storm of circumstances and told FOX 13 they should not have been together in the same area of the jail.
"Ultimately it's our responsibility. Not the court, not the clerk, ultimately it's us," says Gualtieri. The Sheriff says Harding, who has an extensive criminal record, was arrested and charged with a felony. However, in court it was later reduced to a misdemeanor.
The jail, however, did not pick up the change in status. Harding should not have been placed with men accused of murder like Greenberg. Last year, Greenberg was arrested for killing his girlfriend, 26-year-old Jennifer Zale in St. Petersburg. She died the exact same way as Harding, strangled with wet toilet paper shoved down her throat.
Greenberg should have been in a single cell, but there were none available over the weekend when the attack took place.
"Greenberg happened to put his stuff in the same cell," Gualtieri said. "They didn't know each other, it was just happenstance they ended up together."
Greenburg told other inmates he did not want to spend his life in prison; he wanted to go to death row, which detectives think was the motive for the killing.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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