Man accused of murdering cellmate is on trial

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NESHOBA COUNTY, Miss. (WTOK) - A man accused of murdering his cellmate in Neshoba County is on trial this week.

Source: Neshoba Co. Sheriff's Dept.

Justyn Schlegel was charged for beating Rexdale Henry to death in 2015. Tuesday, a jury heard from a medical examiner and a jailer, who was working the morning Henry died.

"They want justice for their father, their husband," says Janice McDonald, Syracuse University Cold Case Justice Initiative Co-director.

The family of Rexdale Henry, who died in a jail cell, was too emotional to speak.

Henry's daughter and wife were in the courtroom when a jailer, on duty that night, took the stand.

"This is an issue that goes beyond the trial of Justyn Schlegel," says McDonald. "It goes to what they could've done to prevent this."

The jury watched a security camera overlooking the detox cell Justyn Schlegel and Henry were sharing. It showed jailers checking on Henry very often.

"They looked in that [cell] window 17 times," says McDonald.

The jailer testified he was checking on Henry because he was shaking from alcohol withdrawals. The jailer said he would have called the nurse if conditions would have gotten worse.

"They knew it was worse and we think the jury can see that too," says McDonald.

The jailer later found Henry wasn't breathing. Schlegel was taken out and later charged with Henry's death, but the family doesn't believe Schlegel killed Henry.

"It's very hard to believe," says McDonald.

Although, the district attorney's office brought in a medical examiner to explain the cause of death, which is multiple blunt force trauma. The family had a second autopsy done but did not want to share the results.

The autopsy done by the Mississippi State Medical Examiner's Office showed the jury, Henry had multiple bruises, seven broken ribs and internal bleeding.

Schlegel was originally arrested for domestic violence and Henry was taken in for failing to pay a fine. The trial will continue Wednesday morning at the Neshoba County Courthouse.