A Mentally Ill Prisoner's Family Is Suing Tarrant County over His Jail-House Murder

Categories: Crime

Brandon Thibodeaux
Jonathan Holden's sister claims mismanagement in a Tarrant County jail lead to his murder.
Jonathan Holden did not meet a good end. He suffered from psychotic episodes, delusions and paranoid schizophrenia. He used meth. About two years ago, because he broke into a car to escape a cold night, he found himself in a high-risk unit of a jail in Fort Worth. One day, while Holden was in his single-man cell, another inmate was outside his.

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Steven Lawayne Nelson was on his one-hour rotation, a time when one inmate is allowed to walk around the jail floor while the others are confined. Authorities say Nelson, who is now on death row for killing a preacher, was violent and often threatened his girlfriend's life. With a broomstick, he prodded Holden through the bars, then told Holden he could help him stage a fake suicide attempt, which would get Holden out of the unit. Holden approached the bars.

The guard on duty had left the area. Holden put his back against the bars, an eyewitness would later testify. Nelson wrapped a blanket around his neck and pulled. Holden died the next day; he was buried soon after. His sister, whom he had been living with before his arrest, didn't find out her brother's fate until months later.

In March, the sister, Jennifer Ciravolo, sued Tarrant County for the death of her brother. She claims that because of Holden's condition he needed to be away from most prisoners, under the supervision of mental health doctors. She also claims that jail administrators knew this but failed to protect Holden's life.

In 2012, after Holden was booked in, a doctor evaluated him, saying he wasn't suicidal and recommending he be placed in a unit with single-man cells and nonviolent inmates. He was also placed under mental health observation.

Before the recommendation to be with nonviolent inmates, though, Holden had punched a guard, according to the county's response to Ciravolo's complaint. The punch was enough for him to be classified as "assaultive." Holden was soon assigned to the Belknap Unit, which had single-man cells.

The unit also housed, Ciravolo claims, "a violent, high-risk, physically superior, mentally unstable and schizophrenic sociopath who was ... allowed to roam outside of his cell unsupervised while armed with various weapons."

After his death, the county claims, jail officials tried to get in touch with his family for a month but were unsuccessful. No one visited Holden during the nearly two weeks he was locked up. Also, Holden didn't indicate any next of kin when he was booked in, making the search more difficult.

Ciravolo claims the jail officials did know Holden had a sister and did not inform her of his death. She wants to exhume his body and move it to the family plot in Oklahoma.

In June, the county requested the case be dismissed. That was denied. According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Tarrant County commissioners met in an executive session Tuesday and could reach a settlement soon.

The lawyer for Tarrant County declined to comment, and the lawyer for Ciravolo did not return a request for comment.

Send your story tips to the author, Sky Chadde.



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21 comments
joedupont
joedupont

  Jury nullification occurs in a trial when a jury acquits a defendant, when members of the jury believe that the punishment does not fit the "crime" even though they agree that the defendant is guilty of the charges. I bring this up because Craven Michael Vaughn was convinced to give up his RIGHT to a trial by jury by his attorney,Curt Parkins. You see, Craven tried to hire a hit man to kill three psychics in 2012 that were allegedly invading his brain and trying to take him over. I can not believe that at least one juror would find that Craven did not need to rot in jail but he needed to be institutionalized. It appears that now Craven has been taken off of all medications and housed in a state prison many hours away from his mother and incapable of dealing with the paperwork of allowing other family members to visit him. It is very sad that illegal alien rapists and murderers are being released back on the streets while we put the obviously mentally ill in prisons with no treatment. The mentally ill should not be able to surrender their rights to a trial by jury! Happy 4th of July folks. Happy 4th of July! 

parisrec
parisrec

We're all hung up on walkability and useless pr exercises while the Mental Health services deteriorate even further. It's a goddamn disgrace.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

The state's first duty is to protect the citizen from a schizophrenic on meth with a violent record.  I live near the Austin Street Shelter and there are more than one or two bouncing off the telephone poles talking to themselves here in Deep Ellum.  They can, and do, come alive on you without provocation (see: homeless assaults and murders in Deep Ellum).

The second duty is for the state, when it incarcerates the mentally afflicted, is to protect the inmate from himself and murderers on death row for killing a preacher.  A difficult task no doubt.  But do you see the hierarchy of need?

Mr. Nelson should not be alive to kill again.  It takes on average 12 years to put a guy like him to death so he is not available to wander the halls, assisting others in their suicide.

The state has clearly demonstrated it is incapable of protecting the citizen, the inmates, or the guards from certain kinds of heinous murderers who are worse than violent meth-induced schizophrenics. 

A List of Murderers Released to Murder Again! - Wesley Low

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

@holmantx " They can, and do, come alive on you without provocation (see: homeless assaults and murders in Deep Ellum)."

And they can be on you like a NINJA  .


I think Mental health issues would be treated quickly and efficiently  If more every day people had one of those Get this CRAZY Son of a Bitch Away from or Off of ME interactive  moments .

 


Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@holmantx Nazi Germany was not the first or only country to sterilize people considered "abnormal." Before Hitler, the United States led the world in forced sterilizations. Between 1907 and 1939, more than 30,000 people in twenty-nine states were sterilized, many of them unknowingly or against their will, while they were incarcerated in prisons or institutions for the mentally ill. Nearly half the operations were carried out in California. Advocates of sterilization policies in both Germany and the United States were influenced by eugenics. This sociobiological theory took Charles Darwin's principle of natural selection and applied it to society. Eugenicists believed the human race could be improved by controlled breeding.


Still, no nation carried sterilization as far as Hitler's Germany. The forced sterilizations began in January 1934, and altogether an estimated 300,000 to 400,000 people were sterilized under the law. A diagnosis of "feeblemindedness" provided the grounds in the majority of cases, followed by schizophrenia and epilepsy. The usual method of sterilization was vasectomy and ligation of ovarian tubes of women. Irradiation (x-rays or radium) was used in a small number of cases. Several thousand people died as a result of the operations, women disproportionately because of the greater risks of tubal ligation.---Jewish Virtual Library

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@oakclifftownie

The M1911 45ACP is still in use today by our military and for the same reason it was adopted (over the 38 revolver) and put into use in 1911.

It knocks out a drug-juiced attacker before it kills him.  The pistol fires a big, fat, slow-moving subsonic projectile that, when it strikes the supercharged attacker, the kinetic energy knocks him back like he had piano wire wrapped around his neck.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Myrna

"It is time that we as communities with a sense of responsibility for our citizens, which means ourselves, should do something about a situation. The answer to much of the problem is a program of sterilization."

---Progressive hero Margaret Sanger

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz @holmantx

This, from a de facto Nazi sympathizer, which is a sycophant who conflates using kids as human shields with merely cat hoarding - in order to protect a very evil ruler.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@holmantx  You are obsessed with killing; but not only obsessed.  You have a truly disturbing and twisted love of it.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@TheRuddSki ... so long as it's practiced upon the regressive rethuglykkkans, what's the harm?



Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Forced sterilization in Germany was the forerunner of the systematic killing of the mentally ill and the handicapped. In October 1939, Hitler himself initiated a decree which empowered physicians to grant a "mercy death" to "patients considered incurable according to the best available human judgment of their state of health." The intent of the socalled "euthanasia" program, however, was not to relieve the suffering of the chronically ill. The Nazi regime used the term as a euphemism: its aim was to exterminate the mentally ill and the handicapped, thus "cleansing" the "Aryan" race of persons considered genetically defective and a financial burden to society.---Jewish Virtual Library


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@holmantx 


the United States led the world in forced sterilizations. Between 1907 and 1939, more than 30,000 people in twenty-nine states were sterilized, many of them unknowingly or against their will, while they were incarcerated in prisons or institutions for the mentally ill. Nearly half the operations were carried out in California. 


a significant number of sterilizations continued in a few states until the late 1960s. The Oregon Board of Eugenics, later renamed the Board of Social Protection, existed until 1983, with the last forcible sterilization occurring in 1981.

tdkisok
tdkisok

@holmantx


Stop getting your drugs from the streets of Deep Ellum.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

The doomed were bused to killing centers in Germany and Austria walled-in fortresses, mostly former psychiatric hospitals, castles, and a former prison — at Hartheim, Sonnenstein, Grafeneck, Bernburg, Hadamar, and Brandenburg. In the beginning, patients were killed by lethal injection. But by 1940, Hitler, on the advice of Dr. Werner Heyde, suggested that carbon monoxide gas be used as the preferred method of killing. Experimental gassings had first been carried out at Brandenburg Prison in 1939. There, gas chambers were disguised as showers complete with fake nozzles in order to deceive victims — prototypes of the killing centers' facilities built in occupied Poland later in the war.---Jewish Virtual Library


WhiteWhale
WhiteWhale

@DonkeyHotay @holmantx The proud legacy of the liberal progressive and big government

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