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Summations set in Maryland prison bus murder case

A civil court jury in Baltimore is set to hear closing arguments in a wrongful death case stemming from an inmate-on-inmate murder aboard a state prison bus in 2005.

The parents and estate of Phillip Parker Jr. are seeking $21 million from the state and five correctional officers who were aboard the vehicle during a nighttime trip from Hagerstown to Baltimore.

They claim the guards were grossly negligent in failing to prevent Parker’s strangulation by fellow Supermax inmate Kevin Johns.

During courtroom arguments Friday outside the jury’s presence, a defense lawyer conceded the state and two of the guards were negligent. But he says the officers can’t be held personally liable under the state’s public official immunity law. The trial resumes on Monday.