Responsible for the death of an insulin-dependent diabetic inmate, a former Oklahoma jail administrator was sentenced Wednesday to 51 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to criminal civil rights violation under color of law by depriving the detainee of medical care. According to a lawsuit filed by the victim’s family, the administrator accused the victim of faking his deteriorating symptoms while refusing to provide medical attention for three days.
On June 16, 2013, a pretrial detainee named Kory Wilson, 27, arrived at McClain County Jail, where he neither received a medical evaluation or insulin treatments for his Type-1 diabetes. Three days later, Lt. Wayne Barnes found Wilson lying on the floor of his cell and finally ordered a corrections officer to call emergency medical services.
On June 21, 2013, Wilson died of diabetic ketoacidosis after having never regained consciousness. According to his indictment, Lt. Barnes knew Wilson was a Type-1 diabetic yet still refused to provide his medically necessary insulin treatments while in police custody.
On the same day as his death, Wilson was charged in McClain County District Court with knowingly concealing stolen property and carrying a weapon where alcohol is served.
Wilson’s family later filed a lawsuit alleging that an unwritten policy existed at the jail denying medical treatment to detainees without official approval. According to the suit, Barnes repeatedly accused Wilson of faking his symptoms despite the fact that the diabetic inmate could not walk unassisted and was barely able to speak in the days prior to his death.
On February 9, Barnes pleaded guilty to violating Wilson’s constitutional rights by depriving medical care. Barnes admitted that he had been aware of Wilson’s medical condition during that time period, but he willingly refused to provide the medically necessary insulin to the pretrial detainee. Barnes also confessed that his inaction directly resulted in Wilson’s death.
“My actions should have been better than what they were, and for that, I’m truly sorry,” Barnes told an Oklahoma City federal judge during the sentencing.
“Inmates deserve and the law requires that adequate medical care be provided by penal institutions,” stated U.S. Attorney Mark Yancey. “Denying necessary medical treatment is inhuman and unconstitutional.”
On Wednesday, Barnes was sentenced to 51 months in federal prison and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine. The former jail administrator is scheduled to begin his prison sentence by September 14.
In October 2012, Maricopa County agreed to pay $3.25 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of Deborah Braillard, who was denied insulin for three days while in police custody at an Arizona jail. In August 2015, Michael Robinson died in police custody after Missouri police refused to provide his insulin treatments and locked him in solitary confinement as he begged for medical assistance.