The death of a Huber Heights man while in custody in 2015 has led his family to sue the Montgomery County jail, the county sheriff, Huber Heights police and others alleging that he did not get needed medical attention while in jail.
In 2015, Robert Linkous, 49, died of heart failure after he was incarcerated for a day in the Montgomery County jail, according to the lawsuit, which claimed his wife called 911 because Linkous needed medical attention.
After a day in the jail, he was being transported from the jail to the Clark County Jail by Clark County deputies when they determined the inmate needed immediate medical attention and took him to a hospital, the lawsuit states.
Linkous told Clark County deputies that, “I am short of breath and can barely breathe” and “I am having chest pains,” according to a Clark County Sheriff’s Office memo obtained by this news organization after a request with that office for related records.
A Clark County deputy wrote that Linkous had a large bruise on his face that Linkous told the deputy happened when he was attacked by another inmate. Linkous told deputies neither the bruise nor his other medical needs were met at the Montgomery County Jail, according to Clark County records.
Huber Heights police arrested Linkous Oct. 6 and took him to the Montgomery County jail. Police responded to a Huber Heights home because Linkous’ wife had called 911.
“Was dispatched to the above address in reference to a possible overdose,” said a one-paragraph incident report obtained from Huber Heights police. “Robert Linkous was found to be just intoxicated and lying in bed ignoring his sister.”
SPECIAL REPORT: Justice in the Jailhouse
Huber Heights police took him to the Montgomery County Jail to be held on two 10-year-old warrants out of Clark County and Michigan. The warrants for were failure to appear in court in Clark County and a probation violation in Michigan.
As Linkous was being taken to the jail, his wife called to alert jail staff that he was suffering from withdrawal of alcohol and heroin since Oct. 3, 2015 and was confused, according to the lawsuit.
Linkous “was suffering from alcohol and heroin withdrawal, a heart condition, high blood pressure, an elevated heart rate, and a confused mental state,” the lawsuit states. “Instead of providing medical care, they took Mr. Linkous into custody and arrested him. The Huber Heights police then told the ambulance to leave, the lawsuit states.
“At the jail, the police did not inform the jailers of Mr. Linkous’ medical condition or his request to go to the hospital,” the lawsuit states.
“While in jail, Mr. Linkous was beaten by another inmate and given an ice pack, but no other medical treatment,” the lawsuit states. “Later that night Clark County deputies came to take Mr. Linkous into custody and transport him to their jail. It was obvious to these deputies that Mr. Linkous was in medical distress and they drove him to the hospital. He died a few hours later,” according to the complaint.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court and brought by Linkous’ son, Jayme Laurent, names Huber Heights police officers Troy Diltz, Scott Short, Matthew Blair, Brian Carr, Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer, the city of Huber Heights, the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners and various John Does as defendants.
Montgomery County officials have not yet answered the complaint in court and the sheriff’s office has not responded to requests for comment.
Huber Heights police have not responded to messages seeking comment on the department and its officers. Plummer also has not responded to messages seeking comment. Montgomery County spokeswoman Cathy Petersen said the county, including county commissioners, cannot comment on pending ligation.
The suit is seeking compensatory and punitive damages and was filed by attorney Jennifer Branch.
This news organization also has requested several public records from the sheriff’s office.