Schuylkill County officials on Wednesday chipped away at testimony from a recent coroner's inquest into the death of a prison inmate.
The inmate, Matthew Koncsler, 21, died in his cell on March 31, 2013, of "mixed substance toxicity," according to medical professionals. The jury also determined he had ingested heroin within hours of his death.
Koncsler had been in the prison on drug charges for about five days.
The inquest jury determined that Koncsler's death was by accidental overdose, with negligence as a contributing factor.
At a meeting of the county prison board, President Judge William Baldwin questioned District Attorney Christine Holman about the inquest jury's findings.
The inquest was to determine the cause of death and if someone was criminally responsible by neglect, Baldwin said.
"Did they find somebody criminally responsible?" he asked.
"No," Holman said.
She said the transcript of the inquest is available if anybody wants to read it.
The board also discussed the testimony of inmate James Landron Jr., who was one of two other men in the cell with Koncsler when he died.
Landron testified that he saw cigarettes and tobacco being passed under the door to Koncsler. Landron did not tell that to authorities who questioned him at the time of Koncsler's death, Warden Eugene Berdanier said.
Berdanier also addressed the matter of four days of security tapes, from March 27 through March 30, requested by deputy coroner Joseph Pothering. Pothering said the tapes for March 28 and March 29 were missing.
Berdanier said the tapes were not missing. However, they record inmates' activity and movements outside of their cells only, and Koncsler was not outside of his cell on those days, so there was nothing to tape.
Baldwin also raised the matter of coroner David J. Moylan's statements after the March 31 inquest that he would be making recommendations to the prison board on potential policy modifications.
"I'm not aware of any recommendations he made to us, are you?" he asked board chairman and county Commissioner George F. Halcovage Jr.
"We haven't received any recommendations from that standpoint," Halcovage said.
"The coroner had requested to have a meeting, and I told him … I would have a meeting with him to discuss anything that he would have. My response was that we do have policies and procedures in place."
Among the subjects discussed at the inquest was the prison's policy of not having medical staff at the jail perform body cavity searches.
A company called PrimeCare Medical, Harrisburg, provides medical services and staff for 29 correctional facilities, including Schuylkill's.
PrimeCare Vice President of operations Francis J. Komykoski, who attended Wednesday's board meeting, said the company does not allow its staff to perform body cavity searches for evidence.
"If we do suspect that, we alert security, and the patient is sent to the hospital," he said. "The standards that we follow prohibit our providers, our nursing staff from gathering forensic evidence."
He said Schuylkill's policies and procedures "are consistent with all the other county jails that we have."
The board did not discuss how Koncsler came to have the heroin.