Ferrell still aching from son’s stabbing in prison, family wants answers
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer
For a few hours after being told about an assault on his son at a Florida prison in Cross City, Stoney Ferrell waited for a return call confirming or denying what he’d heard.
The conversation during the call back turned out to be what Ferrell dreaded.
“Mr. Ferrell,” he recalled the voice on the other end saying, “I’m sorry to inform you that your son died.”
Confirmation that Larian Ferrell, 32, was stabbed and eventually died, devastated Stoney Ferrell. Larian Ferrell was his only child.
“I couldn’t believe it for about four or five minutes,” Ferrell said. “I was crying, screaming and hollering.”
Ferrell still cries weeks after the May 18 incident. He’s overcome by his emotions in part because he can’t get any details about exactly what led to his son’s death.
Larian was nearing the end of a three-year sentence on drug charges. Following the stabbing, he was taken to Shands Hospital in Gainesville, where he died.
The Ferrell family recently issued a statement calling on state law enforcement officials to answer their concerns. While law enforcement officials will not comment publically on the case because of their investigation, Stoney Ferrell said the family has hired attorney Amber Hall, who has been doing her own fact-finding on the case.
“Our family is strong and determined to get justice for Larian,” Rev. Ernest Ferrell, Larian’s uncle and former president of the Tallahassee Urban League, said in the family’s statement appealing for answers. “We want everything related to this case made available to us, including autopsy reports, medical records, exact time of death and full details of what really happened to my nephew.”
Larian’s funeral was held in Tallahassee on June 1 at Saint Mary Primitive Baptist Church, where Ernest Ferrell is pastor.
“Every morning I wake up since that (stabbing) happened, I cry,” Stoney Ferrell said. “It’s kind of hard because there aren’t too many moments in a day that I don’t think about him.”
Memories of the days when Larian was a better-than-average basketball player, sometimes come to his mind, Ferrell said. He also recalled the times when his son would invite his friends to play on a backyard basketball court at their home.
He also remembers the times he’s had conversations with his son about doing the right things in life.
“He wasn’t a saint by any means,” Ferrell said, “but nobody deserves what happened to him.”
Ferrell said his son was apparently stabbed just hours after their last telephone conversation. They talked about his planned release in September and how he would get his old job back with an air conditioning company.
Later, Larian Ferrell spoke with his girlfriend and told her he “didn’t feel comfortable” because people were staring at him, watching him, according to the family’s statement. Larian went on to tell his girlfriend, “something is going wrong; everyone is staying away from me.”
He also told his girlfriend if she did not hear from him later on that Saturday, something would have gone wrong. He didn’t call, prompting his girlfriend to call the prison.
She was told Larain had been assaulted. She informed Stoney Ferrell, who immediately called the prison a few times before the call informing him of his son’s death was returned.
During the call that Stoney Ferrell had with his son earlier in the day, he said they also spoke about his release from solitary confinement after spending 38 of 60 days that he was supposed to be there. His son had become leery of talk about a gang war among inmates and committed an offense that put him in solitary confinement to avoid any uprising, Ferrell said.
His son was immediately allowed to rejoin the regular prison population and participate in recreation activities.
“After hearing it, I could feel in his voice that he didn’t feel comfortable with that,” Ferrell said, “but he wanted to get his time back to get out on time.”
Ferrell said he suspects his son’s death could have been part of a conspiracy because of the history of similar incidents at the Cross City prison. One of those cases that occurred in 2017 was the subject of a recent report by the Tampa Bay Times.
The Times reported that three former corrections officers involved in a 2017 inmate beating had resulted in criminal charges against the officers.
Agencies that are investigating Larian Ferrell’s cast includes Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Inspector General’s office, Ferrell said. He said he was told the investigation could take as long as a month.
Meanwhile, he is eager to get answers about his son’s death.
“I felt this was a planned assault,” he said. “He was afraid for his life.”