Posted on August 3, 2004

Grandparents Sue Over Jailhouse Baby, Aug. 2

KNOXVILLE, Georgia (AP) — The grandparents of a child conceived while her parents were both in the Crawford County Jail want the county to help them support the baby.

LaTonya Finney and boyfriend, Adrian Howard, were jailed in 2002 to await trial on robbery charges. While they remained behind bars, Finney became pregnant.

They say they had been granted a conjugal visit, but the sheriff says the county has never allowed such contact.

Finney’s parents, Ronnie and Patricia Finney, are asking the county to help pay for raising their granddaughter, Adrianna. Because their daughter was impregnated while in jail, they argue, Crawford County Sheriff Kerry Dunaway shares some of the responsibility — and the cost — while the tot’s parents are both serving prison terms.

“I just think it’s a very, very bizarre social conscience these people have that their daughter conceives a child and they think the sheriff is responsible,” said county attorney David Mincey Jr.

The sheriff said he wasn’t even aware of Finney’s pregnancy until Howard filed suit demanding to be released from prison to care for Adrianna. That case is still pending.

The couple said Dunaway granted them a 45-minute conjugal visit in exchange for information, but the sheriff said Howard picked locks to gain access to the women’s section of the jail.

Howard said there was no way he could have gotten through locked cell doors. “The sheriff let me through the door himself,” he told the Macon Telegraph. “It was his decision . . . now he wants to change his story about what really happened.”

The elder Finneys say they have an income of only $1,741 in disability and welfare checks each month to raise their two other children and a niece, but are determined to continue raising Adrianna until her mother is released from state prison in 2012.

“I wanted that baby to grow up with some family members . . . to know that she was loved,” said Ronnie Finney.