LILLINGTON, N.C. (WNCN) – A man is now charged in the death of a Harnett County inmate who was killed in jail nearly a year ago.
William Earl Surles, 64, of Dunn, was found in his bunk around 8:20 a.m. on Dec. 19, 2022, according to the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office. An autopsy report from the N.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said Surles had blunt-force trauma to the head and blood was found around the jail cell.
Surles’ death was ruled as homicide.
Court records show a grand jury indicted 26-year-old Devonte Jamal Headen for first-degree murder charge in Surles’ death. An indictment is the formal charging of a suspect, not a finding of guilt.
The report from the medical examiner’s office says Surles shared a cell with another inmate and was last seen alive the night before he died.
It’s unclear if Headen the cellmate noted in the report. CBS 17 has reached out the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office to confirm their relationship.
The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation also joined the investigation into Surles’s death.