Sunday, September 24, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Sunday, September 24, 2023 | Back issues
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Stomped to Death for Littering

OKLAHOMA CITY (CN) - Oklahoma County sheriff's officers arrested a mentally disabled man for loitering, littering and failure to appear, and housed him with a violent felon who promptly beat and stomped him to death, his mother claims in court.

Ramona Dungee sued the Oklahoma County Board of Commissioners and Sheriff John Whetsel for the death of her, Artie Hales, in Federal Court.

"On March 11, 2013, Artie Hales was a 55-year-old mentally-disabled person arrested on misdemeanor charges of loitering, littering and failure to appear," the lawsuit states.

"Mr. Hales was booked into the Oklahoma County Detention Center as a pre-trial detainee.

"He was placed in a cell with a violent felon, Marshall Tyrone James. Marshall Tyrone James was in the custody of the Oklahoma County Detention Center on a sexual battery complaint. He also had previous felony convictions, including burglary, possession of controlled dangerous substances, and assault and battery upon a police officer."

James is not a party to this lawsuit, which continues: "Marshall Tyrone James had gouged the eye of another detainee a few days before Mr. Hales was put in the cell.

"Marshall Tyrone James was violent and should not have been housed with other detainees.

"Marshall Tyrone James should have been carefully watched by sheriff's deputies to prevent any violent behavior.

"On March 18, 2013, Marshall Tyrone James killed Mr. Hales by beating and stomping on him. Mr. Hales died from blunt force trauma. Mr. Hales' body was not discovered by Defendants until many hours after his death when rigor mortis had set in."

Dungee seeks damages for constitutional violations, pain and suffering, loss of consortium and funeral and medical expenses. She is represented by Ed Abel.

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