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Henry County inmate not allowed to attend dad's funeral

By Kathy Jefcoats

A Henry County woman awaiting a bond hearing on multiple charges will not be allowed to attend her father's funeral Saturday.

Kathy Ferguson's father, Jerry Dillard, died suddenly earlier this week. His funeral is set for Saturday in Smyrna. Ferguson, 34, is being held in the Henry County Jail on charges of violating a temporary protective order, aggravated stalking, enticing a child for indecent purposes and contributing to the delinquency of a child.

She was arrested last week.

Ferguson's ex-husband, Thomas Stephens, said he bought her clothes and arranged to pay a police officer $25 an hour to escort her to the services. Stephens said Ferguson was Dillard's only child.

"It's not right to deny her to go to his funeral," said Stephens. "This is wrong."

But Henry County Jail Maj. David McCart said Friday that the family in charge of funeral arrangements does not want Ferguson there.

"The family in charge asked that she not be brought," he said. "The ex-husband's request will not be recognized."

Stephens and McCart agreed that there are bitter feelings within the family.

"Everything was left to her and the family don't like it," said Stephens.

"There is an ongoing family squabble," McCart said. "They think she'll misbehave if she goes."

Stephens said Ferguson is upset over the death.

"I don't think she'll show her (butt)," he said. "It's her father's funeral."

Inmates are allowed to attend family funerals under certain conditions, said McCart. The services must be for the death of an immediate relative and be held in Georgia. Special arrangements have to be made if the funeral trip is several hours away.

The family must pay an off-duty officer to escort the inmate. If the inmate faces serious felony charges, two officers must be paid for escorting services.

"We don't want the county taxpayers to have to pay for something like that," he said. "We do try and work with the family."