WATCH: Ohio Inmate Deaths Reveal “Torturous” Use of Tasers


COLUMBUS, Ohio – Corporal Matthew Stice pointed his Taser at Martini Smith’s bare chest.

Smith was 20 years old, pregnant and stripped nearly naked, standing in a cell in the Franklin County jail in Columbus, Ohio. She had been detained on charges of stabbing a boyfriend she’d accused of beating her. Stice and a deputy had ordered her to disrobe, take off all jewelry and don a prison gown. But she hadn’t been able to obey one command – remove the silver stud from her tongue.

“Take the tongue ring out,” Deputy Shawnda Arnold said. Smith continued struggling to unscrew the ring, inserting fingers from both hands into her mouth. No luck. Her fingers were numb, she protested: She had been cuffed for six hours with her hands behind her back.

“I will Tase you,” Stice said. The ring was slippery, Smith said, asking for a paper towel. The deputies refused. “I just want to go to sleep,” Smith cried.

Stice warned her again, then fired. The Taser’s electrified darts struck Smith’s chest; she collapsed against the concrete wall and slid to the floor, gasping, arms over her breasts.

“Why did you Tase me?” she moaned. “I wasn’t harming nobody. I can’t just take it out.”

Five days later, Smith had a miscarriage.

“It stays with me like it was yesterday,” Smith said of the Taser’s pain and the memory of her loss of the child. The charges against her in the domestic violence case were dismissed.

The 2009 incident is among hundreds documented by Reuters in which Tasers have been misused or linked to accusations of torture or corporal punishment in U.S. prisons and jails.

Reuters identified 104 deaths involving Tasers behind bars, nearly all since 2000 – 10 percent of a larger universe of more than 1,000 fatal law enforcement encounters in which the weapons were used. Some of the in-custody deaths were deemed “multi-factorial,” with no distinct cause, and some were attributed to pre-existing health problems. But the Taser was listed as a cause or contributing factor in more than a quarter of the 84 inmate deaths in which the news agency obtained autopsy findings.

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WATCH: $200K Settlement Reached in Severely Diabetic 20-Year-Old Inmate Death


A notice of a $200,000 settlement was filed Tuesday in federal court in the case of a severely diabetic 20-year-old who died in the Bi-State Justice Building jail last year.

Morgan Angerbauer died of diabetic ketoacidosis in the early hours of July 1, 2016, after being found unresponsive in a medical observation cell and forced to ingest pure sugar.

Angerbauer’s blood-sugar level at autopsy was 813, well beyond a normal level of 70 to 140, according to court records.

Little Rock lawyer Matt Campbell filed a civil suit on Sept. 9, 2016, on behalf of Angerbauer’s estate in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas against LaSalle Corrections, the company that manages the jail. Also named as defendants are LaSalle owners and administrators, as well as jail staff members, including former licensed vocational nurse Brittany Johnson.

Johnson is accused of refusing to treat Angerbauer the evening before her death and of acting to cause the avoidable fatality in the civil suit and in a criminal case pending against Johnson in Miller County Circuit Court, where she is charged with felony manslaughter. Johnson’s nursing license has been suspended, and her criminal case is set for jury selection next week.

Campbell and lawyers representing the LaSalle defendants in the civil suit filed a joint motion Tuesday that includes a notice of a $200,000 settlement. The motion asks that proceedings in the case be stayed for 30 days and states that it “may be necessary for the terms of settlement to be presented” to Circuit Judge Carlton Jones, who is presiding over the estate in probate court in Miller County.

Angerbauer’s mother, Jennifer Houser of Texarkana, who initially contracted with Campbell to represent her, said Tuesday that she was completely unaware of any settlement proposal in the civil suit, that she was not consulted about it and that she is in disagreement with it.

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WATCH: Downstate Correction Officers Convicted of Inmate Beating

Downstate Correctional Facility and Kevin Moore

NEW YORK – Four years after a violent attack on a Downstate Correctional Facility inmate, two former correction officers were convicted in federal court Monday of the beating, and of falsifying records to cover it up.

Former Downstate correction officers Kathy Scott and George Santiago Jr. were convicted in the beating of then-54-year-old Kevin Moore, on Nov. 12, 2013, according to Joon H. Kim, acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

“This verdict should send a loud, clear message to the New York state prison system that the protections of the U.S. Constitution do not stop at the prison wall,” Kim said in a statement Tuesday.

Kim said Scott and Santiago repeatedly punched and kicked Moore in the head and body as he lay on the floor. Moore was then hospitalized for two weeks with facial bone fractures, five broken ribs and a collapsed lung.

Kim said the pair were also found guilty of conspiring to falsify state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision records regarding the assault.

Scott, 43, of Saugerties, and 35-year-old Santiago, of Fremont Center, were each convicted of one count of deprivation of rights under color of law, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. They were also convicted of one count of conspiracy to deprive civil rights, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison; one count of falsifying documents, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and one count of conspiring to falsify documents, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Three other former correction officers at the Fishkill prison — Andrew Lowery, Donald Cosman, and Carson Morris — have previously pled guilty to the same four offenses for their involvement in the incident.

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Prisoner kills inmate who beat infant daughter to death

Authorities said a man serving a life sentence for murdering his two-day-old baby was found dead in his U.K. prison cell over the weekend.

Liam Deane, 22, who was jailed in October for punching, shaking and squeezing his baby girl to death after she wouldn’t stop crying, was found dead in his cell at HM Prison Leeds in England on Sunday, The Yorkshire Evening Post reported.

RELATED: Click through some of the most outrageous mugshots and crimes

Deane admitted to murdering his daughter, Luna, while her mother was sleeping in their family home in Wakefield, England, last July.

He reportedly lost his temper during the night he subjected his daughter to a brutal attack. The baby died in intensive care after suffering “catastrophic brain injuries” from her father.

SEE ALSO: ‘Good girl’ cheerleader charged with killing and burying her infant

As a result, Deane was sentenced to life in prison and could have served a minimum of 10 years.

Another inmate, John Westland, 28, was charged with Deane’s murder in court on Tuesday and is being held in custody. It remains unclear why Westland was originally admitted to jail.

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Sick death row inmate will be given special pillow to help him breathe during lethal injection

A sick death row inmate set to die by lethal injection this week will be given a special wedge-shaped pillow to help him breathe as he is executed.

WCPO reports that death row prisoner Alva Campbell, 69, will be executed at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio, on Wednesday for the 1997 murder of a Columbus teen.

According to the Associated Press, Campbell suffers from severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder as the result of a decades-long two-pack-a-day smoking habit, which makes it extremely difficult for him to breathe while lying down.

His attorneys said he uses a walker, relies on a colostomy bag, requires four breathing treatments a day and may have lung cancer.

Additionally, medical professionals had a hard time finding suitable veins in Campbell’s arms during an earlier medical exam, which might make it difficult to administer the lethal drugs and cause him excessive pain. 

To help mitigate some of these issues, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction plans to use a wedge-shaped pillow to help Campbell breathe during his execution.

“At this time, (the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction) intends to use a wedge-shaped pillow on the gurney at Mr. Campbell’s execution,” JoEllen Smith, a spokeswoman for the department, told the Columbus Dispatch. “Mr. Campbell’s medical condition and history are being assessed and considered in order to identify any necessary accommodations or contingencies for his execution.”

Photo: Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

Campbell first made parole in 1992 after serving 20 years behind bars for killing a patron in a Cleveland bar.

While on his way to a court hearing five years later on April 2, 1997, on several armed robbery charges, Campbell, who was in a wheelchair and had allegedly been faking paralysis, overpowered a sheriff’s deputy, stole his gun and carjacked 18-year-old Charles Dials.

Campbell drove around with the teen for hours before shooting him twice in the head in the trunk of his own car. He was sentenced to the death penalty over Dials’ murder.

Last month, Campbell petitioned that he instead be executed by firing squad, a request which Federal Judge Michael Merz rejected on Tuesday.

Campbell’s legal team asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stop Wednesday’s execution. At the time of writing, the court had not said whether it would consider the request.

RELATED: Learn about infamous death row prisoners: 

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‘They Killed Him’ Officials Delayed Care For Vermont Inmate Suffering From Untreated Cancer


Bobby Hutt died of cancer in October 2014, after suffering for over a year. His sisters say the Vermont Department of Corrections “killed him” by waiting until the cancer got so bad that Bobby’s leg broke beneath him.

Like many people who have lost a loved one to cancer, his sisters look back on his decline with a mix of love and despair.

Bobby’s older sister, Melissa Dumont, and younger sister, Janice Hutt, spent most of 2014 fighting to bring Bobby home.

He found out about his diagnosis in January 2014, as an inmate at a privately owned prison in Arizona contracted by the Vermont Department of Corrections. Before his diagnosis, Bobby spent months requesting medical care for a pain in his leg. One day in November 2013 as he put his pants on in his cell, his sisters say, Bobby’s femur snapped.

He was sent to emergency surgery in a nearby hospital. According to a lawsuit filed by his sisters, the bone in his leg was visibly abnormal during surgery. Bobby wasn’t told about his cancer for weeks after that.

That’s one of those things his sisters still seethe about. They haven’t forgiven the Vermont Department of Corrections officials who they say allowed this to happen, or the prison staff who missed opportunities to get their brother the help he needed.

“I think if they had acknowledged when he broke his femur that he had cancer and had started treatments then, he may have had more time with us,” Dumont says.

“Or if they had actually done an X-Ray when he first started complaining about his leg,” Janice Hutt adds. “You know, maybe he wouldn’t have broken it. Maybe it wouldn’t have spread, and he’d still be here.”

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Kentucky Jail Supervisor Sentenced To 10 Years After Beating Inmate To Death


A former guard at the jail in Hazard was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years and six months in federal prison for beating an inmate who later died.

Damon Wayne Hickman, 40, will have to serve at least 85 percent of the sentence, or nearly nine years. That is because there is no parole in the federal court system, but inmates can shave time off their sentences through good conduct.

Hickman will be on supervised release for three years after he gets out of prison.

U.S. District Judge Karen K. Caldwell sentenced Hickman in federal court in London.

“The criminal conduct in this case was a disgraceful breach of public trust, a grave disservice to truly dedicated law enforcement personnel, and an appalling violation of a man’s civil rights,” acting U.S. Attorney Carlton Shier said in a news release. “Holding law enforcement officials accountable for violations of the public trust we place in them is absolutely critical to making our communities safer.”

Hickman, once a supervisory deputy at the Kentucky River Regional Jail, was accused of assaulting several inmates.

He pleaded guilty last year to three charges involving an inmate named Larry Trent: using excessive force against Trent; failing to get medical help for him; and putting a false entry in a log book indicating that Trent was OK after the assault in order to cover up the crime.

The assault happened in July 2013 as Trent, 54, was being held on a charge of driving under the influence.

Trent ran out of his cell at one point, and Hickman forced him to the floor. Hickman and Curtis Howell, another deputy jailer, then kicked and punched Trent, Hickman acknowledged.

The two left him bleeding on the floor of a cell.

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[WATCH] FBI Documents Reveal New Details About Inmate’s Death at Macomb County Jail


MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. – The Justice Department is releasing hundreds of documents for the first time in the death of an inmate inside the Macomb County Jail.

David Stojcevski’s death sparked a national debate on the treatment of inmates after the Local 4 Defenders aired video of his final days, which included agonizing suffering due to withdrawal from doctor-prescribed medications.

Now, more than three years later, his family is getting some answers and raising new questions.

It was classified information until now, as information comes out about what the FBI discovered while investigating Stojcevski’s death.

“He didn’t need to die,” said Stephanie Stojcevski, David Stojcevski’s mother. “There was no reason for it. No, the hospital is five minutes away. … My David died on the floor, and he lost 50 pounds, and I’ll never have my David back.”

Stephanie Stojcevski said she cries for the loss of her son and fights for justice in his death.

Video showed David Stojcevski shaking, naked on a jail floor, twitching and seizing for days until he died.

He was in jail for failure to pay $700 in fines. He died as guards watched on camera.

“They watched my son die for 13-14 days,” Stephanie Stojcevski said. “I don’t know why they don’t respond. Do they have a heart? How do they sleep at night? Do they have kids?”

The FBI found that David Stojcevski had no food his last five days of life. He lay on the jail floor twitching for his last 48 hours without any visits from the jail medical staff.

Multiple guards said they were worried and asked the medical staff to help David Stojcevski, but were repeatedly told he was fine and that it was normal for a person detoxing from opioid addiction.

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