Soon after arriving at the Orange County Men's Jail/Intake Release Center on Oct. 11, 2011, Steven Douglas Mott let it be known that he liked to take a drink. In fact, Mott, who'd just been arrested in Costa Mesa on a burglary warrant, said he liked to drink “six or seven 40s” a day.
That would put Mott's daily malt liquor intake somewhere in the 240 to 280 ounce range, enough to keep his 55-year-old body in a state of perpetual inebriation, a condition that the Orange County District Attorney's office has now officially concluded caused his death within a day of being incarcerated.
According to the DA's Investigative report, Mott arrived at the jail with injuries from a prior traffic accident, the details of which weren't provided. A nurse practitioner interviewed Mott, who admitted being an alcoholic but claimed he hadn't had anything to drink in five days. He was given a vitamin and processed through to the medical center for further evaluation.
By the end of the day, and despite being given capsules of Serax to help with alcohol withdrawal, Mott began to suffer obvious symptoms of acute withdrawal and was transported to the Western Medical Center in Anaheim. After being admitted there at about 4 a.m. on Oct. 12, 2011, Mott's condition continued to deteriorate.
“At times, Mott appeared to be confused, distracted, and hallucinating,” the report states. His blood pressure began to drop and hospital workers had to intubate Mott. It's unclear from the report what if anything else transpired during the next several hours as Mott lay, apparently unconscious, in his bed at the intensive care unit. But at just after 8 p.m. that night, a doctor was summoned to examine Mott, who had no pulse and wasn't breathing. He was declared dead shortly thereafter.
Mott's death is officially listed as having been caused by complications of chronic alcoholism.
Award-winning investigative journalist Nick Schou is Editor of OC Weekly. He is the author of Kill the Messenger: How the CIA’s Crack Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Journalist Gary Webb (Nation Books 2006), which provided the basis for the 2014 Focus Features release starring Jeremy Renner and the L.A. Times-bestseller Orange Sunshine: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love’s Quest to bring Peace, Love and Acid to the World, (Thomas Dunne 2009). He is also the author of The Weed Runners (2013) and Spooked: How the CIA Manipulates the Media and Hoodwinks Hollywood (2016).