Father, son both die in SLO County Jail

January 13, 2015

jailBY JOSH FRIEDMAN

A Morro Bay man who died in San Luis Obispo County Jail over the weekend passed away in the same location his son died 14 years ago.

On Sunday morning, 63-year-old Morro Bay resident David Osborn Sr. died after collapsing at the jail. Osborn’s death marked the fourth fatality at the county jail in a span of less than 12 months, prompting allegations of neglect.

Shortly following Osborn’s death, his daughter, Tara Osborne-Byrd, informed CalCoastNews that her brother, too, died in San Luis Obispo County Jail. On Jan. 21, 2001, David Osborn Jr. hanged himself in his jail cell.

Jail guards found Osborne Jr. hanging from a noose he constructed out of clothing.

Prior to the hanging, family members warned San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office officials that Osborne Jr. was suicidal. However, jail staff did not move Osborne Jr. to a high-security cell, as protocol requires.

The family later sued the county and received a $30,000 settlement.

Recently, several attorneys and former inmates contend that conditions in the county jail are so poor that multiple inmates had marred skin because of a widespread outbreak of staph infections. Critics also contend that jail staff has displayed neglect to health conditions in the cases of the four men who have recently died while incarcerated.

Hours prior to Osborne Sr.’s death, he complained that his blood sugar was low and said that he needed medical attention. Jail medical staff saw Osborne Sr. at 2:30 a.m. and 7:15 a.m. on Sunday, sheriff’s spokesman Tony Cipolla said in a press release.

At 8:49 a.m., jail workers allowed Osborne Sr. to leave his intake cell. He walked to the jail medical office and sat on a concrete bench awaiting medical care.

Osborne Sr. then collapsed in front of jailers, who used an automated external defibrillator in an attempt to revive him. At 9:57 a.m., doctors at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center pronounced him dead.

The Morro Bay man had been in custody for being drunk in public. Police arrested him twice Saturday for the same offense.

In 2014, men aged 28, 35 and 29 each died in San Luis Obispo County Jail.

On Jan. 23, 28-year-old Josey Meche died from a drug overdose after flailing on a concrete cell floor for more than 20 minutes. Jail guards offered him no assistance until he stopped moving.

In March, 35-year-old Rudy Joseph Silva died of influenza and a staphylococcus infection four days after he was transported to the hospital from the jail. Inmates claim Silva was sick for several days with coughing fits and that he pleaded for medical care but did not receive any until he was no longer conscious.

On May 30, jail workers found 29-year-old Timothy Richard Janowicz dead in his cell. The sheriff’s office then sent out a press release saying he died of a heroin overdose.

More than six months later, the sheriff’s office release Janowicz’s autopsy after receiving numerous record requests for the report. The autopsy and coroner’s report each describe bruises, gashes and multiple needle marks on his body.

The coroner’s report also says jail staff did not see Janowicz for 10 hours, though policy requires workers to enter group cells every 30 minutes.

Last year, the death rate in San Luis Obispo County Jail was more than three times the national average, according to Federal Bureau of Justice statistics.


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Pismodemi

they must have good lawyers to defend them over at the jail …

$ 30,000 can buy more donuts then respect for the incarcerated…

they probably have that much in the petty cash fund

for BBQ sauce, car washes, or wrongful death settlements.


Rambunctious

This is a very sad story and a tragic coincidence. The moral to this story is… keep your butt out of jail. Stop breaking the law and you will live longer, healthier and happier.


mkaney

So do you not ever break the law? Never drive a couple of blocks without your seatbelt? Never drive over the speed limit? Are you 100% sure your BAC has never been over 0.08 while driving? Have you ever jaywalked? What about littered? Did you drink any alcohol before you were 21?


agag1

Most of the violations you list do not result in jail time, merely a ticket and a fine.

Drive drunk? Your @ss should be in jail!


slophocles

All in one day (yesterday) I was presented with the opportunity to: buy and sell weed; beat the hell out of a guy that truly deserved it; and get in my car and drive after drinking. I chose not to do any of them, and guess where I spent the night? In my own bed, not in a concrete box with a bunch of other dudes.


mkaney

Well congratulations to you for being a good boy and doing what you’re told. You want a biscuit? I’m not sure how self righteousness is an argue against poor jail conditions, but if it works for you…


slophocles

I don’t need a biscuit. Not waking up in a cell with a bunch of drug addicts, thieves, and child molesters, is reward enough – apply a little good judgment and stay out of jails altogether. Compared to Mexican jails, the SLO-Co jail sounds like after-school detention.


OnTheOtherHand

Well said mkaney.


agag1

Not sure why following some simple laws seems to be such a problem.

Who’s really inconvenienced by basic laws that make life more enjoyable for the majority of folks?


achillesheal

Good for you slophocles. It may be time to choose some new friends, though.


slophocles

Friends? Those were my relatives.


agag1

Thumbs up for humor.

Seriously hope you’re kidding!


SandyK

Cops love to screw with people, jail is the perfect place to do that. People, even after being arrested, should be treated with some respect, but most of the time, they aren’t…..simple as that.


SandyK

Hey look, it only took a few seconds for someone to disagree that people deserve respect…unbelievable.


slophocles

Cops don’t like screwing with people any more than criminals, or the folks at the DMV do. We’re simply not as nice to each other as we should be.


SandyK

Cops get paid for doing the right thing, it’s their job. Criminals are….uh, criminals. Are you not drawing a distinction there?


slophocles

Nobody’s nice and everybody gets sick of dealing with their consumers (clients, customers, inmates, etc). Today I went into Walmart and was treated like crap from the moment I walked in to the moment I left, starting with the Greeter and ending with the Greeter, who gave me the finger as I was leaving – she was at least 75. What I’m saying, is we’re all f****ed up!


slophocles

Statistically, does SLO County have any more people die in jail custody than any other county? Anybody know? Or is this another one of those “SLO County Problems”.


OnTheOtherHand

The last line of the article states that the death rate was 3X the national average last year. Now, the small sample size makes it possible that this is just a temporary aberration but it is reason for concern and investigation.


demiseofslo

Let me be the first to say this. When you get booked into SLO County Jail, they put you in a concrete box with the air conditioner cranked up to a nice 50 something degrees. If you stand by the door to ask for a blanket they literally just stare back at you and laugh. And if you bang on the door your just going to piss them off and then they have to be aggressive dick heads just to show that its their jail. They don’t give 2 flying sh*ts about the inmates. It took over 2 hours to get 3 blankets into the holding cell I was in. Then when I was released they tried to take my blanket away so that another inmate still in the cell couldn’t have it. Also, they feed you stale, moldy bread that’s been steamed in a dishwasher-like machine along with rotten apples and stale coffee cake. Its really messed up when I hear people defending the SLO Sheriffs Dept. There is soooo much that goes on out there that you don’t hear about. If this latest death doesn’t make you question the competency of our local law enforcement, you should seek some serious help. Wake up sheep!!


achillesheal

If one would prefer to be in charge of his own welfare, he should stay out of jail.


pnishaven

Unbelievable. Nice judgement call jury box


achillesheal

Is that statement not true?


The comment says the jail is kept too cold. One can control the climate at his/her domicile.


The comment says that one cannot bang on the door without facing retribution. One can bang and slam doors to his heart’s content at his own domicile.


The comment says that only one blanket is available. You can bundle up at your own home.


The comment says that they feed you moldy bread. If you want fresh bread there may be some in your pantry at your own home.


You are also free to enter and leave your own home as you wish (but not jail).


If you wish to keep control of your freedom and choices, stay out of jail. Seems pretty easy, doesn’t it?


agag1

Agreed. While jail shouldn’t be a torture chamber, it’s not supposed to be a five star hotel either. It’s not meant to be a pleasant experience so as to encourage your return, they would prefer you not come back.


With respect to the temperature, could possibly be a health issue.

Ever noticed how chilly hospitals are? Ever been in an operating room?

Temperatures are kept down to make germs uncomfortable, without much regard for their human hosts.


Heck, for all we know it could be a law, passed by some bureaucrat to protect the jail population from the spread of disease. Perhaps not likely, but who knew it was against the law to walk your alligator on a leash?


OnTheOtherHand

Staying out of jail isn’t quite as easy as you seem to think given the massive number of possible laws one can violate and the attitudes of LEOs towards certain stereotyped members of society. Remember it only takes an accusation to put you in jail and you will stay there until trial unless you can come up with bail


None-the-less, a human society should rise above the behavior or their less subservient members. It is one thing to be cautious and reserved in the treatment of offenders (& accused offenders.) It is another thing to be intentionally abusive or harshly punitive without good reason. I want those representing me to be better than those that are incarcerated not to act at the same sub-human level or worse.


mkaney

Well said


achillesheal

Breaking laws does not usually land one in jail. Criminal acts land one in jail. There is a big difference between the two.


agag1

Staying out of jail IS easy. Give me a break!

Risky behavior is risky…stay away from that and you’ll be fine.


100% agree with your second paragraph.


indigo1955

Been there, done that. Sober now…but they also do things on the way to jail. Do you know what “making you a slider” means? That means no seat belt for you in the back seat while you have cuffs and cannot brace yourself: with lots of sharp turns around corners. THIS-is not just neglectful….it is intentionally done.


achillesheal

FIrst chokeholds and tasing and now backseat jostling. When will the carnage end???


slophocles

It sounds a lot like a Motel 6.


NorthCountyGuy

The man’s death was totally preventable. Not receiving immediate treatment for hypoglycemia is a diabetes patient’s worst fear. His jailers should be charged with gross negligence and dereliction of duty..


Is malfeasance, groos negligence and dereliction of duty being protected by the racketeering, taxpayer-riobbing mentality of the public-employee unions????


CentralcoastRN

Ok. The County has different “bargaining” units for different employees. The Sheriffs, Board of Supervisors, Nurses, clerical staff, computer people, repair people all are in different units. So, while the Sheriff’s might get a raise every year, nurses or repairmen might not get a raise in 5 years. While the Board of Supervisors gave themselves a 5 % raise without batting an eye, they also gave employees $1000 they never asked for to shut them up about little things like “morale”, “safety”, “fair pay to recruit adequate staff”.


They need medical staff in the jail, which is now overcrowded due to new changes in jail laws. The jail needs more room to accommodate all the people in it. The County says they don’t have money for that. So they interview and interview and no one wants a job in a jail with sheriff’s sitting around making more money than you when you can make $20 more an hour at literally any place else.


People in jail are there to be punished. I agree that it isn’t a resort. However, they do not deserve abuse, degradation, or humiliation. They certainly don’t deserve to die.


agag1

Some people in the private sector haven’t gotten raises in years.


CentralcoastRN

I understand what you are saying, I am just merely giving you facts and numbers.


I also understand that for some reason, conditions are such in SLO county jail that 4 people have died while under the care and conservatorship of the jail system.


I was also replying to the “taxpayer-robbing mentality of public union employees” comment. It is hard to swallow that sort of blanket statement when the “grunts” are making significantly below average wages, both Public AND Private.


In 2011, Assembly Bill 109 passed. Since then, the population of the jail has increased 50%.These are supposedly the non violent offenders. So now we simply have overcrowded jails. They have staff doing more work for poor pay. That needs to be remedied, along with rectifying overall conditions at the jail.


agag1

Yes, totally preventable.

It is not wise for diabetics to drink alcohol.

Wreaks havoc with your blood sugar.


agag1

A father and a son both end up in jail.

Clearly this family has problems, very sad.


willieslo

People die in the street, at home, hospital, or in jail from alcohol poison or drug overdose.


“In March, 35-year-old Rudy Joseph Silva died of influenza and a staphylococcus infection four days after he was transported to the hospital from the jail. Inmates claim Silva was sick for several days with coughing fits and that he pleaded for medical care but did not receive any until he was no longer conscious.”


But in Silva’s case, the jailers (all 3 round the clock shifts) were in neglect or dereliction of duty, Silva is dead because of it (Something is wrong)!


mkaney

But when they die out of custody, then it is their own problem. However if you take away their freedom and lock them up, you have taken custody of them much like someone has custody of a child. And when a child in your custody dies, people expect their questions to be answered. If they die on their own, out of jail, having had full freedom to make the difficult choices that they need to in order to survive, it’s their own problem, and then I have no issue.


CentralcoastRN

Silva had also been in jail for 3 months if I remember correctly. Inmates bagged guards to help him from what I read. It was only after he became unconscious that they then “helped” him.