21-year-old Longs man dies from head injuries at Columbia prison

21-year-old Longs man dies from head injuries at Columbia prison
Candya's mother Bertha Vaught
Candya's mother Bertha Vaught
Donnell Larry Candya (Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center)
Donnell Larry Candya (Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center)
Source: Google Maps
Source: Google Maps

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Investigations are ongoing after autopsy results showed Thursday that a 21-year-old man from Longs, who was an inmate at Kirkland Correctional Institution on Broad River Road in Columbia, died from blunt head trauma on Wednesday at 8:20 a.m. at Palmetto Health Richland Memorial Hospital.

Richland County Coroner Gary Watts says the head injuries that Donnell Larry Candya suffered were not due to a fall. Coroner Watts also said a final ruling on the manner of death will be pending further investigation.

Candya was transferred from J. Reuben Long Detention Center to Kirkland Correctional Institution last month on November 13, according to the J. Reuben Long Detention Center website.

He pleaded guilty on November 10 to two charges of first offense manufacturing, distributing or possessing cocaine.

Candya was sentenced to 9 years in prison that was suspended to 30 months and 3 years probation.

Candya's mother Bertha Vaught says the sentence was compassionate, and her son was ready to turn his life around.

"The judge and society gave him a second chance to live," said Vaught. "What gave them the right to give him a death sentence, when he had an opportunity to start all over?"

Vaught also says a separate doctor gave her some information she found troubling. She says that doctor told her Candya's injuries had to happen several days before he was brought to the hospital.

"My son, for four days, was somewhere critically ill and never received healthcare," Vaught said.

The State Law Enforcement Division and the Department of Corrections are still investigating the circumstances surrounding this incident.

The Kirkland Correctional Institution is located at 4344 Broad River Road in Columbia.

Stay tuned to WMBF News to bring you updates on this story.

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