Mother of inmate killed in prison battling state


Reporter - Lauren Adams
Photojournalist - Randall Barnes

WEST LIBERTY, KY - Barbara Lynch last talked to her son Sunday. He was an inmate at Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex in West Liberty. She says they were planning her next visit.

Michael Lynch was turning 32 in July and Barbara was coming to visit.  She said the pair planned to play cards and Michael promised her a "big bear hug."

But she says, the conversation was cut off.

"I heard the phone fall and bounce against the wall," she remembered.

Lynch, of Murray, Kentucky had been stabbed in the neck by another inmate. He died the following day.

"The least I can do is get him home," Barbara Lynch said, before adding, "It's impossible, I just can't come up with the money."

Because her son was in the general population that day and normally would not be, she believes the state is at fault and should cover the costs.

Lisa Lamb, Director of Communications for the Department of Corrections, said of their policy, "If a family is unable to claim the body, the Department makes arrangements for the body to either be embalmed or cremated and then buried at our state cemetery."

She added, "If a family member is unable to physically travel to the prison, they can still claim the body by paying a funeral home of their choosing to pick up the body."

But Lynch says she does not have the estimated $1,300 to cremate her son and does not want a prison cemetery at LaGrange to be his final resting place.

Her son pleaded guilty to murder but claimed mental illness for his role in the death of Doug McGowan. McGowan was found beaten to death in rural Calloway County back in October of 2009. Three others were charged in connection to the crime.

Barbara Lynch said her son regretted his actions and so did she, "That's why I donated his organs so they could save other lives out there, for the life he had taken."

That was her wish and now she says she is working to grant her son's final wish.  "The last thing he told me was he wanted to come home."

KSP is handling the investigation and in the coming days that suspect will be indicted on murder charges. The prison tells us that inmate is now in segregation for 23 hours each day.

The family of Lynch's victim, Doug McGowan, could not be reached for comment.