The Frontier has spent more than a year investigating problems at Tulsa’s David L. Moss jail, including the death of Elliott Williams, concerns about the jail’s private medical provider and financial issues.

Stories include The Frontier’s analysis of records showing that since 2006, at least 30 people have died in the jail or shortly after being transported to hospitals from the jail. At least 10 of those deaths were possibly preventable, experts and medical records show.

Several stories focus on Williams’ 2011 death from a broken neck and dehydration in the jail. A lawsuit filed by Wlliams’ estate is one of about a dozen civil rights lawsuits over inmate deaths and injuries.

Also included in this page are stories about Ladona Poore. Poore was the plaintiff who prevailed in a federal civil rights lawsuit against former Sheriff Stanley Glanz in 2016. The suit alleged she was repeatedly raped, forced to perform oral sex and groped by a male detention officer over four months in 2010.

Find our coverage, broken into sections, below.

Jail deaths



Experts identified at least 10 Tulsa jail deaths since 2006 as possibly preventableThe 10 cases reviewed by The Frontier add up to one in three inmate deaths in the last decade that experts and medical records state might have been prevented with better care.

The Tulsa Jail has been the focus of more than a dozen civil rights lawsuits filed in recent years over prisoner deaths and injuries. DYLAN GOFORTH/The Frontier

Suit: Former medical contractor wined & dined Glanz while inmates died in jail: The former sheriff, current sheriff, and former medical provider face multiple civil rights lawsuits, with one of the highest-profile cases begins soon.

Inmate’s death earlier this month is first for Tulsa Jail in 2017: A Tulsa man arrested in 2015 after allegedly shooting a man in the neck was pronounced dead earlier this month at an area hospital. But records related to the man’s death are unclear on exactly when and where he died.

Woman who died in Tulsa Jail had been in medical unit when first arrested: The Tulsa jail inmate who died Wednesday after reportedly being found hanging in her cell had been in the medical unit prior to being moved to a “segregation unit,” jail officials said Thursday.

Recently arrested woman becomes fourth Tulsa Jail death in 2016: A Chouteau woman who was arrested last month on a complaint of “child neglect by munchausen by proxy,” a complicated form of child abuse, died Wednesday in the Tulsa Jail, officials there confirmed.

Jail’s watchdog submitted few reports while inmates were injured, died: The Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office hired a nurse employed by its medical contractor to oversee the company in 2014. Since then, at least seven prisoners have died from various causes but she has produced no reports about the deaths, records show.

Now a cold case, burden of solving case of deceased inmate falls to TPD: Though he died in the Tulsa jail, the nature of his injury means the burden of solving Leo Horn’s case will fall to the Tulsa Police Department.

State jail inspector not notified of Tulsa Jail death until after questions by The Frontier: Asked why his office had not reported Horn’s death to the state jail inspector as required, Regalado indicated he was not familiar with that law.

Tulsa Jail prisoner dies, three hospitalized for drug overdose: A 58-year-old man, Leo Horn, died Saturday after being taken to the hospital from Tulsa Jail late Friday.

For families of sick or dying Tulsa Jail inmates, a costly decision: Family members of sick or dying inmates often face a difficult decision — either sign the inmate out of official custody, thereby taking over the financial burden of costly medical bills, or risk not having hospital access to a family member who might be on death’s door.

Man who died Saturday in Tulsa jail is 20th death there since 2010: Danny Watters, who jail records show died on Saturday, is the 20th person to die there since 2010, records show.


Elliott Williams 

Elliott Williams is seen before his arrest (inset photo) and on the floor of his cell after sustaining a broken neck at the Tulsa Jail in 2011. He did not receive medical treatment and died after 51 hours.


TCSO attorneys: Jurors shouldn’t see Elliott Williams’ videotaped death: Attorneys for the Sheriff’s Office asserted the video actually failed to capture Williams moving around, eating and drinking despite his apparent paralysis.

TCSO attorneys seek judge’s removal in Williams jail death case: Attorneys for the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office are asking a federal judge to recuse himself from a high-profile civil rights lawsuit, set for trial next week. Attorneys for the plaintiff say TCSO wants to “shop for a new judge” after unfavorable rulings.

Attorneys file motion to disqualify judge on Elliott Williams case, cite conflict of interest: The request to disqualify U.S. District Judge John Dowdell occurred just hours before a pre-trial hearing began Thursday. The motion argued Dowdell should be disqualified because the judge was a partner in a law firm that litigated a case against Tulsa County almost a decade ago.

Years of warnings preceded veteran’s slow death in Tulsa jail: An investigation by The Frontier finds that TCSO and county officials mostly ignored years of warnings that the jail’s medical system was largely a failure. Prisoners including Elliott Williams died.

Judge’s order: Elliott Williams’ jail cell became ‘burial crypt’: A federal judge’s order clears the way for a civil rights lawsuit to proceed against the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office and former Sheriff Stanley Glanz. The judge ruled that jurors could find a “medical unit-wide attitude of inhumanity and indifference” to the suffering of inmate Elliott Williams, who died in the jail six days after languishing on the floor with a broken neck.


Ladona Poore

Sheriff candidates: Jail should improve conditions for girls: The Republican and Democratic candidates for Tulsa County sheriff say they would make changes in how girls are treated in Tulsa’s jail, following a federal jury verdict against the county.

Ladona Poore’s story: Jail’s treatment of girls ‘will make you go crazy’: The plaintiff who won a civil rights lawsuit over sexual assaults in the jail said she’s speaking out in hopes that she can help other girls who wind up there. Despite a history of sexual assault and incidents in the medical unit where they’re held, girls still lack basic protections given to other inmates, an investigation by The Frontier and NewsOn6 has found.

Jurors rule against Glanz, county in rape lawsuit; more legal challenges await: Jurors found former Sheriff Stanley Glanz and the county guilty of violating a woman’s civil rights when she was held in the jail at age 17. The case is among 22 civil rights lawsuits filed against the former sheriff since 2011, some that could cost taxpayers far more than Wednesday’s $25,000 judgment.

Interim sheriff’s DOJ report failed to disclose all sexual assaults: The Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office has failed to protect young girls in the jail from sexual assaults and holds them in a medical unit often single staffed with a male officer, a violation of its own policies, an investigation by The Frontier has found.

Coverage of other jail incidents

Mentally ill man feared trip to jail would kill him this time: A mentally ill man who nearly died in the jail one year ago was ordered to be jailed for failure to pay child support. A judge ordered him jailed again but reversed her order after learning the man had been ruled incompetent due to brain damage he suffered in the jail.

Company that asked sheriff to change bid criteria chosen for jail contract: Turn Key Medical has been selected to be the new Tulsa Jail inmate medical care provider, pending county commissioner approval. The company is operated by a state representative who contributed to Sheriff Vic Renaldo’s campaign and asked the Sheriff’s Office to change its bid requirements so Turn Key could bid.

State to investigate TCSO over prisoner injury reports, patrol car transports: The state Health Department says it will investigate why TCSO failed to report three out of seven serious inmate injuries since May in the Tulsa jail. Sheriff Regalado has said he’s following advice of the jail’s medical contractor.

TCSO used patrol car to transport inmate with broken neck, back, pelvis: An inmate with mental illness sustained a broken neck, back, pelvis and rib at the Tulsa Jail recently. He was taken to the hospital in a patrol car.

Physicals jumped from $85 to $800 in TCSO contract linked to former undersheriff: The county has paid nearly $300,000 since 2012 to a company that employs former Undersheriff Brian Edwards’ wife, a physician. Under the contract, the cost of physicals jumped from $85 to $800.