As testimony continues, trial in Michael Manos’ death hits a few snags

Donate
Michael Manos. Courtesy

Updated story:

The trial in the death of Michael Manos hit a few snags on Wednesday as previously undisclosed records related to other inmate deaths and even a document related to the care of Manos at the Carter County jail were discovered by his estate this week.

Those records included a medical log that showed when and if Manos received his insulin, the names of other inmates who died at the jail before Manos, as well as medical and jail documents related to their care. The records were brought to light in the second day of the civil trial into Manos’ death.

Manos marked on a jail intake form that he had diabetes, high blood pressure and bipolar disorder. Whether he received his medications while incarcerated has been at the heart of the case.

Before testimony continued on Wednesday morning, Dan Smolen, an attorney for Manos’ estate, said he had discovered over the weekend there were other inmate deaths prior to Manos that the Carter County Sheriff’s Office did not disclose before the trial.

Smolen said one of those deaths, that of Bradley Weaver, was “shockingly similar” to Manos’ case.

Ambre Gooch, an attorney for the Sheriff’s Office, told the court she was unaware of Weaver’s case.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven Shreder said he would allow records in the previously undisclosed cases to be introduced during trial. Those records included jail and medical records for Weaver. The judge also told defense attorneys to produce any other documents related to the deaths.

“I’ve got to say, I’m not really happy about this development,” Shreder said.

The record related to Manos was discovered mid-Wednesday afternoon as defense attorneys collected records from the Sheriff’s Office. Staff there came across the document, which contains information about when and if Manos received insulin at the jail.

“What are the odds they’re going to find something else,” Shreder asked.

“I don’t know the answer to that,” Gooch said.

The court will decide Thursday morning how to proceed with the trial.

Original story:

Detention officers at the Carter County jail declined to send Michael Manos to the hospital just four days before he died in his cell, a former paramedic testified Wednesday.

Randee Quinlan, a former paramedic for the Southern Oklahoma Ambulance Service, said she was called to the jail on Nov. 3, 2015, over detention officers’ concerns of Manos eating his own feces. When she arrived to the facility, staff told her Manos had been splashing in the water of his cell’s toilet, had not eaten in five days and was refusing to take his insulin.

Manos had a history of eating his own feces during psychotic episodes.

Detention officers told her Manos was acting “crazy,” Quinlan testified. Quinlan said Manos was not verbal and only communicated with her by grunting or looking at her. 

After cleaning feces from Manos’ hands, Quinlan found his blood sugar and body temperature were in the normal range. Jail staff decided he was “faking his craziness” and chose not to have him transported to the hospital, Quinlan said.

Carter County Sheriff Chris Bryant in his official capacity is the defendant in the lawsuit by Manos’ estate, alleging his Eighth and 14th Amendment rights were violated. Former Carter County Sheriff Milton Anthony, who was sheriff when Manos died, was previously a defendant but has been dismissed from the lawsuit. 

Attorneys for Manos’ estate have said Manos did not get medical treatment at the jail and did not receive life-saving medications that were prescribed to him.

Meanwhile, attorneys for the Sheriff’s Office have argued Manos’ death wasn’t caused by deliberate indifference within the Sheriff’s Office, a key standard in  civil rights lawsuits. Attorneys have argued that Manos actively refused to take his medication and the jail did not refuse him medical care.

Manos, 44, died on Nov. 7, 2015, of a condition caused by a blood clot. He also showed signs of dehydration, according to a medical examiner’s report. An honorably discharged Army veteran, Manos long suffered from mental health problems and showed signs of bipolar and schizophrenic disorder, records show. He was found in his cell smeared in his own feces when he died.

A record filed in the case, introduced Wednesday, shows a Carter County deputy signed a refusal of service form for Manos after Quinlan’s visit, declining to have him taken to a hospital.

During cross-examination, defense attorney Ambre Gooch asked Quinlan if she recommended to detention officers that Manos be taken to the hospital. Quinlan said no.

When Quinlan examined Manos, jail staff did not tell her the man had been exhibiting similar behavior for at least a week or that he had high blood pressure and bipolar disorder, she testified. She also did not know Manos had medications other than insulin he had not taken.

Asked if Quinlan would have recommended Manos be transported to the hospital if she would have known the details of Manos’ condition, Quinlan said yes.

Other inmates died

Before testimony continued on Wednesday morning, Dan Smolen, an attorney for Manos’ estate, said he had discovered over the weekend there were other inmate deaths prior to Manos that the Carter County Sheriff’s Office did not disclose before the trial.

Smolen said one of those cases, the death of Bradley Weaver, was “shockingly similar” to Manos’ case.

Gooch said she was unaware of Weaver’s case.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven Shreder said he would allow records in the previously undisclosed cases to be used during the trial.

“I’ve got to say, I’m not really happy about this development,” he said.

Testimony in the trial is expected to continue Wednesday afternoon. This story will be updated.

Carter Co. jail didn’t train staff on medical protocols, former deputy testifies

Your financial support for our investigative journalism is now tax deductible. Click here to become a Friend of The Frontier.

Kassie McClung

Staff writer

Kassie McClung joined The Frontier in May 2016. She reports on health, criminal justice and other state issues. Kassie holds a bachelors degree in multimedia journalism from Oklahoma State University. She likes dogs, maps and data. She can be reached at Kassie@readfrontier.com or 918-935-1044. Follow her on Twitter @KassieMcClung.
Donate