OCDA Declines to Press Charges in Jail Suicide Death

Ryan Anthony Hall got a little stab happy one unfortunate day in Santa Ana last year. The 25-year-old shanked his victim 8 times in the neck and back on a November 29, 2014 attack that punctured a lung. Santa Ana police arrested Hall for attempted murder. Once locked away at Men's Central Jail, Orange County Sheriff Deputies (OCSD) learned that their newest inmate had a troubled past.

A new Orange County District Attorney report released this week details that Hall suffered from a dual diagnosis of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. A brain injury in New York triggered the onset of symptoms when he was 19, leading to two suicide attempts. Hall tried to kill himself while in custody before succeeding this April. But did sheriff deputies and other jail staff fail to do their job? 

When transferred to Men's Central Jail, a psychological screening and Hall's past medical history classified him as a “mental health expedite” and “medical” booking. Jail staff also considered him gravely disabled and a danger to others. But they didn't send Hall off to a one-person cell for mentally ill inmates in need of health care.

It didn't take long for Hall to pose a danger to himself. Getting a hold of a razor blade from another inmate, he sliced himself up on December 6, but like all other suicide attempts before, he failed to kill himself.  While receiving medical treatment the next day, Hall reached for a deputy's gun, grabbing a hold of the handle. “Shoot me, I want to die!” he pleaded. In the ensuing struggle, Hall tried to head butt deputies causing minor injuries to them. Days after the incident, jail authorities finally put him in the one-person cell. 

For months, Hall didn't try to off himself and the OCDA report claims that nothing he said or did gave the impression that another attempt loomed. But on the morning of April 6, Hall got permission to leave his cell for the day room. Upon returning, he had a short conversation with another inmate. That same person returned minutes later to find Hall with a sheet wrapped around his neck. Deputies arrived to the cell after being alerted to the situation only to find him hanging from the door frame, motionless and without a pulse. 

Paramedics revived his pulse and breathing, but it was too little, too late. Rushed to Western Medical Center in Santa Ana, Hall suffered significant brain damage. His mother flew in from New York and pulled the plug. The OCDA found no evidence of gross negligence in the suicide death and closed its inquiry without pressing any charges. 

As always, read the report in its entirety online. 

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