Teen with special needs who died in Harris County jail donated his organs

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Friday, November 5, 2021
Family of teen inmate beaten in Harris Co. jail wants justice
The 19-year-old died from having his head bashed and being kicked and stabbed, court records say. A friend is now speaking out about the dangers of the jail.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The man who died in a Harris County jail after a fight with his cellmate has donated his organs, according to his family.

On Thursday, Fred Harris' family lawyer shared the teen "did his last good deed before passing," and his heart went to a young person in need.

The video above is from a previous story.

The 19-year-old with special needs had his head bashed on the concrete floor, and court records also say he was kicked and stabbed by 25-year-old Michael Ownby.

The attack is just one of many reported to the jail, some against offenders and others against guards. Now, the Texas Rangers said they are investigating.

Harris' family said the jail is partly to blame for his death because it is understaffed. In the meantime, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez issued the following statement in response:

"I am deeply grieved by the murder of Fred Harris at the hands of another person held in our jail. His family has my sincere sympathy and commitment that we will work with prosecutors to hold his killer accountable. While Mr. Harris' death is the subject of multiple ongoing independent investigations, every indication at this point is that staffing levels in the jail played no role in this crime. It is true that our teammates working in the jail need more resources. I will continue working with Commissioners Court to address working conditions in a

jail that remains seriously overcrowded."

SEE MORE: Teen inmate with special needs killed by cell mate in Harris County jail, family says

A Harris County Sheriff's Office spokesperson explained they are in the process of interviewing staff and inmates, and that internal affairs and the Office of the Inspector General are working to determine if policies and procedures were followed.