FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — A Forsyth County grand jury did not indict five former detention officers on Monday who were accused of involuntary manslaughter in connection to the December 2019 death of John Neville at the Forsyth County Jail, according to the Forysth County District Attorney’s office. 

Court documents obtained by FOX8 show that Michelle Heughins, a nurse who previously worked at the Forsyth County Jail, was indicted Monday in Neville’s death. 

She was the only defendant who was indicted. 

The family of John Neville Jr. said they were disappointed in the decision by the grand jury and would need time to process it.  

“It’s hard to understand, with everything, with the coroner’s report, all of this detail, that particular decision,” said Sean Neville, John’s son.

On Dec. 4, 2019, John Neville’s family pulled the plug on the machine their father had been hooked up to at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital. 

It had been two days since he was rushed there by Forsyth County Detention Center officers after he suffered a medical emergency while in custody for a misdemeanor charge. 

More than eight months later, in early July of 2020, the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office revealed that Neville had suffocated while being detained by five detention officers. 

Five Forsyth County Detention officers and Heughins were arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter.  

Body camera footage was also released that showed that John Neville suffered a seizure during his detainment and repeated several times that he “couldn’t breathe” and needed help.  

The video also showed Heughins repeatedly trying to calm Neville down as she took his blood pressure. She was heard on camera saying, “They are just holding you down while we take your blood pressure. You just had a seizure. They’re just making sure you don’t hurt yourself.”

Forsyth County District Attorney Jim O’Neill told FOX8 that he was surprised by the decision.

“We’re going to sit down with the investigating officers and the family and the attorney for the family to figure out what we need to do next,” O’Neill said.  

Sean Neville told FOX8 that he feels there was enough evidence to support involuntary manslaughter charges against all six individuals.  

“Nothing is going to bring him back. It’s just holding the people in the systems responsible,” he said.

John Neville’s death, and the circumstances around it, sparked a lengthy string of protests in and around the city, which lasted for more than a month. 

The District Attorney’s Office could bring new evidence in front of a grand jury that could ultimately lead to indictments being filed against the five detention officers. 

Heughins is set to make her next court appearance on May 22, 2022. 

FOX8 reached out to Forsyth County Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough who responded with the following statement: 

“My heart and my prayers go out to all those affected by this incident, but especially to the Neville family for the loss of their father. As it relates to the findings of the court and their determination, it would not be proper or ethical for me to comment as this is still a civil and criminal case up for litigation. Again, our prayers are still with the family and all those involved. May God give us peace and understanding.”