Durham mom furious after her killed son's autopsy is delayed

DURHAM (WTVD) -- The family of a Durham man shot to death by a state trooper in February is upset that after five months his autopsy is still not complete.

"My heart aches, aches," said Thomasine Hinson during a news conference Saturday in front of the Durham County Courthouse.

Hinson and her two surviving sons were wearing t-shirts bearing the picture of their son and brother, 31-year-old Willard Scott.

They say the mortician who handled Scott's body told them he was shot in the back.

But they say the State Medical Examiner's Office has yet to complete the autopsy that may confirm that.

During the conference, Hinson told the crowd she calls the medical examiner's office nearly every day.

She said, "Each day I would call they would say 'soon,' soon. What is soon? I said, 'please don't let soon be two more months. It's already been five months. How long does it take?'"

The President of the Durham NAACP, Roland Staton, named five Durham men killed by law enforcement or police while in their custody.

He said the autopsies of all but one were completed in nine weeks or less except for one that took 18 weeks.

Stay on top of breaking news stories with the ABC11 News App

Scott's family has been waiting 19 weeks. That's 19 weeks of waiting for answers.

"The longer this goes, the worse it smells," said Staton. "The longer this goes, the more suppositions there are going to be. The longer this goes, the less it looks like there is transparency in this process."

Staton knows Scott had a checkered past.

Scott was shot by Durham police in 2008 and survived.


But Staton says that doesn't have any bearing on whether this shooting was justified.

He and the family said they were surprised when a spokesperson for the State Department of Health and Human Services had emailed a statement about the case which reads:

"The OCME (Office of the Chief Medical Examiner) is awaiting toxicology tests to be complete. Every case has its own unique set of facts and circumstances, and the length of time to complete a case can vary based on a number of factors."

Staton repeated that statement at the news conference and then turned to the cameras and said, "We might not be here today had they informed the family of that information."

Durham District Attorney Roger Echols tells ABC11 the investigation into Scott's death likely can't be completed until the autopsy is finished.

Staton said he hopes, no matter the outcome of the investigation, something good could come from the case - more training for police officers.

"We're training our children how not to be killed by the police," Staton said as the crowd cheered and clapped. "Police need to be trained how not to kill our children."
Copyright © 2019 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.