WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — The charges against a former nurse in connection to John Neville’s death have been dismissed at the request of the Neville family, according to the Forsyth County District Attorney’s Office.

The Neville family’s attorney wrote a letter to the DA on behalf of the family expressing their desire to no longer pursue any criminal prosecution.


Winston-Salem News

Read more Winston-Salem news on

As a result, the DA’s office dismissed the last remaining criminal charge, involuntary manslaughter, against former nurse Michelle Heughins. She had pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Neville was in jail on a misdemeanor charge when he suffered a medical emergency on Dec. 2, 2019. He was rushed to the hospital by Forsyth County Detention Center officers. Two days later, Neville’s family pulled the plug on the machine their father had been hooked up to at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital. 

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. 

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, who at the time was a nurse at the Forsyth County Jail, 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.”  

Five Forsyth County Detention officers and Heughins were arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter. A Forsyth County grand jury did not indict the former detention officers, according to the Forsyth County District Attorney’s office. 

More from FOX8

North Carolina News

See the latest North Carolina news

Court documents obtained by FOX8 show that Heughins was the only defendant who was indicted

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 News & Observer reported in May 2022 that a $3 million settlement was reached between Neville’s family, Forsyth County and the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.