Law firm to review 2018 death of Beltrami County Jail inmate Hardel Sherrell

BEMIDJI — The Beltrami County Attorney's Office has entered into a contract with the Eckberg and Lammers law firm to review the 2018 death of Beltrami County Jail inmate Hardel Sherrell.

The decision to review Sherrell's death comes shortly after the Beltrami County Attorney's Office was referred to the case in August, following an investigation by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

Sherrell died from medical complications while in custody at the Beltrami County Jail in September 2018. The cause of death was initially listed as pneumonia, but an independent autopsy review concluded that the cause of death was untreated Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

Sherrell's mother, Del Shea Perry, believes her son's medical problems were ignored by jail staff. In September 2019, Perry filed a lawsuit against the county and several other defendants, including Sanford Health and MEnD Correctional Care in Sartell.

Perry has pushed for an investigation of the death for years, recently urging Attorney General Keith Ellison to review the case.

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“The death of Mr. Sherrell was truly a tragedy, my heart goes out to his family, who for four years now have sought justice for their loved one’s death," Beltrami County Attorney David Hanson said about the case. "I, too, want to see justice done for Mr. Sherrell."

Hanson explained that in order to ensure the right decision is made regarding charges in the case he has decided to seek an independent review.

"After careful thought and consideration I have chosen to consult with attorneys Imran Ali and Andrew LeFevour of Eckberg and Lammers," Hanson said. "I believe that their individual experience makes them uniquely qualified for this role."

Ali is a former Washington County prosecutor and a former public defender for the state of Minnesota who was named Minnesota Attorney of the Year in 2016 and 2020. LeFevour is a former Hennepin County prosecutor who has managed and prosecuted thousands of criminal cases, the release said.

“As ministers of justice, we must rely only on evidence, not outside influence from any parties," a statement from Ali and LeFevour read. "We intend to review the evidence and provide our findings to the Beltrami County Attorney’s Office. We will take our time to ensure justice for all.”


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