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King suit faults jail safety

Attorney says prisoner was suicidal, facility staff knew it

September 20, 2012
By PETER KASPARI, pkaspari@messengernews.net , Messenger News

Tanner King's attorney said he is suing Webster County after his client fell 40 feet from the roof of the Webster County Jail.

King, 21, of Fort Dodge, has been in a Des Moines-area hospital since Sept. 5 after he landed in the alley between Seventh and Eighth streets.

King's attorney, Mark Pennington, of Kutmus, Pennington & Hook P.C., of West Des Moines, said Thursday that the lawsuit he filed Sept. 14 claims King fell.

Pennington said the jail didn't do enough to protect his client.

"The lawsuit says that the facility had knowledge of Tanner King's suicidal intent," he said Thursday. "They are responsible for his care while he is in their facility."

It's believed that King made it through a secured door to the roof, where inmates are not allowed.

"The position of our lawsuit is that having had knowledge of his suicidal intent they had a duty to protect Tanner King from himself," Pennington said.

Chief Deputy Jim Stubbs of the Webster County Sheriff's Department said it appears King, who was being held in the jail, was trying to escape by jumping to a building across the alley.

King suffered "extensive fractures," he said.

Stubbs said the paperwork for the lawsuit hadn't reached his department by Thursday afternoon. He said he couldn't comment further on the situation.

Webster County Attorney Ricki Osborn said Thursday that her office hasn't received any official notice of the pending lawsuit either.

King was being held in the jail on charges that included violation of a no-contact order and first-degree harassment. He had appeared in Webster County Magistrate Court the day before the incident.

He has been released from jail with supervision to the Division of Adult Corrections until he's able to be taken back into custody.

King has pleaded not guilty to the charges that were filed against him. His trial is set for Oct. 30.

 
 

 

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