Spoiler Alert: DA Sees Nothing Irregular in OC Inmate's Cardiac Arrest Death
The Orange County District Attorney's (OCDA) yelled 'Clear!' last week in a report on an inmate's heart attack death. This week, they're back with a legal look into another gone con's behind-bars cardiac arrest. Getting to the heart of the matter, the OCDA concluded its investigation into the death of John Thomas Sawyer last summer while in the care of the Orange County Sheriff's Department (OCDA).
Their results may not surprise you!
Fullerton police first arrested the 47-year-old Sawyer for burglary on April 20, 2012. During booking, he told city jail staff that he was thinking of harming himself. Instead of hospitalizing Sawyer, they prescribed him heavy antidepressants. Authorities transferred him to Central Men's Jail later that month before booting him over to Theo Lacy in Orange in December 2012.
Last summer, Sawyer complained to his cellmate about heartburn. He was convinced that mustard packets alleviated his symptoms and began trading fellow inmates for them. The report noted that jail medical staff never learned of Sawyer's need for some purple Prilosec pills to treat his condition.
On the afternoon of August 17, 2013, Sawyer's cellmate noticed that Sawyer began convulsing and alerted a deputy immediately.
Paramedics arrived to Theo Lacy ten minutes later. By that time, Sawyer laid on the ground unconscious suffering from cardiac arrest. An ambulance took him to UCI Medical Center nearby in Orange. Sawyer had no pulse and was pronounced dead at 4:50 p.m.
An autopsy revealed that Sawyer had an enlarged heart, severe artery blockage and an inflamed liver from years of suffering from Hepatitis C. The coroner determined cardiac arrest as the cause of death.
"There is no evidence of criminal culpability on the part of any OCSD personnel or any individual under the supervision of the OCSD," the report concluded.
The full investigation letter can be read in its entirety online.
Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @gsanroman2