Lawsuit filed in fatality at WRJ
HUNTINGTON — A wrongful-death lawsuit has been filed against Western Regional Jail in Barboursville after a man believed to be having a psychological episode was found unresponsive in his cell.
Bradley Wilson Siders II, 28, of Point Pleasant, died in March 2017 at St. Mary’s Medical Center. A medical examiner report said although he was believed to have drowned, his cause of death was from delirium due to methamphetamine intoxication and schizophrenia.
The lawsuit was filed by attorney Charles Hatcher, on behalf of Kathleen Jeffers, in August against the Western Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority, PrimeCare Medical of West Virginia, PSIMed Corrections, officers Ricky Gaberielse and Jimmy Pine and PrimeCare employee Anita Petitte.
The civil lawsuit charges the defendants with deprivation of constitutional rights, violation of the West Virginia Medical Professional Liability Act, negligence, negligent hiring, training, supervision and retention, and a violation of the West Virginia Human Rights Act.
The plaintiff is seeking punitive damages for what the lawsuit described as malicious, wanton and oppressive disregard of Siders’ rights.
Lawrence Messina, director of communications for the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, declined to comment on the allegations this week because of the ongoing litigation.
According to a criminal complaint filed in Mason County by the West Virginia State Police, Siders was jailed March 1, 2017, on a misdemeanor charge alleging he falsely reported an incident. Siders called emergency dispatchers and accused a man of sexually assaulting and killing two children in his apartment complex.
When officers arrived at the complex, located on Allison Road in Point Pleasant, the officers allegedly found Siders outside standing in the rain “staring at the heavens and yelling that the CIA was landing a Black Hawk helicopter and they were taking him to do mind control training.”
According to the civil lawsuit complaint, prior to his death Siders had been diagnosed with psychological issues, including schizophrenia, for which he had been prescribed medication. He had fresh needle marks on his arms and had snorted “geek,” or crack cocaine, two days prior to coming to the jail. He had not slept in seven days, Hatcher said.
The primary booking agent at the jail allegedly said he had identified Siders as having mental or drug issues based on the arresting officer’s statements and requested he be seen by a mental-health professional.
Two medical staff interviewed Siders and were informed of his past suicide attempts, incarcerations, psychological history and drug dependence issues, according to the lawsuit. Petitte, a psychologist, later allegedly refused to meet with Siders but did prescribe a low dose of Klonopin for drug withdrawal, which, the lawsuit alleges, Siders never received.
Siders was cleared for housing in the general population of the jail facility, but was eventually moved to protective custody by jail authorities based on his alleged continuous bizarre behavior.
Siders was placed into protective custody about 7:30 p.m. March 1 and his body was discovered just before 4 p.m. the next day.
Pine, who was overseeing Sider’s pod while he was housed there, according to the civil complaint, said Siders was drinking an excessive amount of water to “wash the demons out of himself” and said there was someone in the cell with him. He later identified that person as Marilyn Manson or Charles Manson. The behavior was not reported to a supervisor.
Gaberielse is accused of making an intercom system inoperable so that Siders could not contact the guard while he slept.
Several inmates who were interviewed as part of the investigation said Siders continuously attempted to contact guards to talk about his suicidal thoughts. He was talking to walls and saying he saw demons. He also continuously drank water, even though he was vomiting, they said.
Hatcher states there are conflicting statements regarding when the last security check was performed at the pod. The last logged check was at 11:40 a.m. and Siders was not found until 3:57 p.m. the day of his death.
Security checks are supposed to be performed hourly for those in protective custody, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit contends that only three security checks were performed on the day of Siders’ death. Hatcher said three food trays found in Siders’ cell show he was not being checked or monitored.
Siders was found in his cell, which had about an inch of water covering the floor, and appeared blue. An officer began CPR but did not attempt to breathe for him, the lawsuit alleged. Water was coming out of his mouth and nose during each compression and it was surmised he died from drowning.
Jail medical officials were called twice before getting a response, which caused an additional lapse of time for him to receive proper treatment, Hatcher alleged.
During an eight-month period at the Barboursville facility three inmates died, including Derek Kevin Bennett, 33, in August 2017, and Donnie James Charles Jackson in December 2016.