Fourth SLO County Jail inmate dies

January 11, 2015
Sheriff Ian Parkinson

Sheriff Ian Parkinson


A 63-year-old Morro Bay man died shortly after collapsing at the San Luis Obispo County Jail early Sunday morning. He is the fourth man to die while incarcerated in the county jail in less than 12 months.

David Osborn was arrested for drunk in public on Saturday shortly before 1 p.m. He was released four hours later and then rearrested at 8:38 p.m., again for drunk in public.

He would be pronounced dead nine hours later.

During his time in custody, Osborn regularly complained that his blood sugar was off and that he needed medical care.

As is common in arrests where there are medical concerns, Morro Bay Police officers transported Osborn to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center for a medical clearance. He was cleared and booked into the jail on Sunday at 12:11 a.m.

During his time in the intake area, a frigid group of cells with glass doors and concrete benches, he complained multiple times that he was in distress.

At 2:30 a.m. and 7:15 a.m., he was seen by jail medical staff, said Tony Cipolla, the sheriff’s department public information officer, in a press release

At 8:49 a.m., Osborn was allowed to leave the intake cell and he walked to the jail medical office and sat on a concrete bench to await medical care. He then collapsed in front of his jailers who used an automated external defibrillator in an attempt to revive the Morro Bay man.

At 9:57 a.m., Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center personnel pronounced Osborn dead.

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Coroner is investigating the manner and cause of Osborn’s death.

Osborn is the fourth inmate to die while incarcerated in the men’s jail in less than 12 months.

On Jan. 23, Josey Meche, 28, died from a drug overdose after flailing on a concrete cell floor for more than 20 minutes, according to the coroner’s report. Until he stopped moving, deputies offered him no assistance.

In March, Rudy Joseph Silva, 35, was discovered unconscious in his cell. He was transported to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center where he died of influenza and a staphylococcus infection four days later. Jail mates claim he was sick for several days with coughing fits, but did not receive the medical care he pleaded for until he was no longer conscious.

Timothy Richard Janowicz

Timothy Richard Janowicz

On May 30, Timothy Richard Janowicz, 29, was found dead in his cell. Several weeks later, the sheriff’s department sent out a press release saying that Janowicz died of a heroin overdose.

On Dec. 18, following more than a half dozen records requests, the sheriff’s department released both the autopsy and coroner’s report which describe bruises, gashes and multiple needle marks on Janowicz’ body. In addition, the coroners report says that jail staff had not seen Janowicz for 10 hours even though jail policy is to enter group cells every 30 minutes.

As a result, the inmate death rate at the men’s jail, with a population this summer of 551 prisoners, is more than three times the national average. During 2014, three men died in the men’s jail or .54 percent of inmates, while the nation average is .13 percent, according to Federal Bureau of Justice statistics data.

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For those of you defending the sheriffs lack of concern for human life, what is the excuse for the man that died of influenza (or h1n1 virus)? He begged for medical care for days and wasn’t given attention until he was unconscious, in a coma state by the time he was in the ambulance. I would show more compassion when basic human rights are being questioned. You never know when it will be your son or daughter, mother or father that is put in those conditions. When And if it is would you not expect some degree of accountability no matter what their crimes?


Does Parkinson get a kick-back from local mortuaries or what?


he gets paid over $200k a year to do nothing all day is what he gets….


Oh, he’s not doing nothing–he’s spending our $$$$ like a drunken sailor!


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!!


We’re sorry the accomodations weren’t to your liking. May we suggest you clean up your act and quit checking in?


I have mixed feelings about CCN’s coverage of this situation. The headline and lead paragraph subtly imply that this incident was part of a pattern of possible negligence by the Sheriffs Dept. The facts that follow (if correctly related) show that they did respond reasonably to this inmate/patient’s problems. There may or may not be issues of competence with the medical personnel in this case but not with the Sheriff’s Dept.

The other 3 inmate deaths have varying degrees of negligence from the Sheriff’s Dept. associated with them. Short of putting all inmates in solitary it is very difficult to keep all drugs out of the jail and I hesitate to put much blame on the Sheriff’s Dept. for someone attaining enough for an overdose. The failure to treat such overdoses (or other illnesses) in a timely matter is different and worthy of an investigation into the attitudes of the correctional officers involved and possibly jail policies about dealing with inmates’ medical emergencies as well.


did it ever cross your mind these people should not have been in jail in the first place? Or are you a big fan of the nanny police state fueled by the prison for profit system?


Should not have been in jail according to whom?

If they violated the law, then, yes, they should have been in jail.

If you’re saying you don’t like the law, or feel it is unjust, then that’s another issue.

But the law, is the law, and as such, officers are there to enforce it.