Investigation into inmate assault underway at Erie County Correctional Facility

ALDEN, N.Y. (WIVB) – Another investigation into the Erie County Correctional facility is underway. Carl Miller, 27,  came out of a medically- induced coma last week. He woke up two weeks after another inmate beat him at the Erie County Correctional Facility in Alden.

Carl Miller’s lawyer tells us he was beaten so badly he had to undergo immediate emergency brain surgery at ECMC. It’s something the Commission of Corrections is now looking into.

Miller’s Lawyer, Leonard Zaccagnino calls him a decent guy. He’s a Senior Partner at Shaw & Shaw Law Offices in Hamburg. He said, “He was a very nice young man. That was my impression of him. This wasn’t like a nasty kid with an edge. I didn’t get that.”

Facing larceny charges he was moved to the Alden facility in September. a holding center for non-violent criminals. He said, “Common sense says if you’re being held at a correctional facility,  the mission is who is every at that facility is cared for and they’re not in harms way.”

Miller’s mom went to visit him his first night at Alden. He was visibly upset and concerned for his safety. Zaccagnino said, “His eyes were watery, she asked him what’s wrong, and he started telling her that he was fearful for his safety, that he was scared.”

Miller had submitted a written request to be moved to a different unit, which the Sheriffs Office said they had plans to honor. At one point, a Corrections Officer was not around on that floor, and that’s when 47-year-old James Thomas attacked.

Zaccagnino said, “One thing is for certain, he didn’t cause this to happen. He got jumped, and there was notice there were issues here.”

Scott Zylka with the Erie County Sheriffs Office tells us Miller was found floating in and out of consciousness.  He admitted to taking pain medication, a contraband.

Staff thought he had fallen and hit his head- and filed the report as an accident. Zylka said, “After he was taken to medical, and given 3 doses of Narcan, Medical Personnel and Sheriffs Personnel started to wonder, “what’s going on here? This isn’t right, this should have been something else.”

Officers started talking with inmates, and Thomas admitted to the assault. He was charged one day later.

Zylka said, “From the facts that we had within that moment, we filed our report there was no intent to file a false report.”

The New York State Commission of Correction said they have a two-part investigation underway to learn more about the original accidental filing. The Sheriffs Office has started their own internal investigation.
Now three supervisors will be suspended, and other officers could be facing disciplinary action.
Miller is now in recovery.His lawyer has secured a motion that he could be released on his own recognizance, and he will likely not return to Alden. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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