KCRA 3 — Stephen Slevin's 22 months in solitary confinement in a county jail left him traumatized and physically weak, but he'll soon be a multimillionaire for his suffering.
The New Mexico county that locked him up on a drunk driving charge, isolated him from other inmates and accused of essentially forgetting about him for nearly two years agreed this week to settle his lawsuit for $15.5 million.
Slevin, now 59, went to jail in August 2005 as "a well nourished, physically healthy adult," but emerged with a long beard, bed sores, bad teeth and weighing just 133 pounds in June 2007, according to the lawsuit.
Jailers separated Slevin from other inmates because of his history of mental illness, according to the lawsuit filed by Albuquerque civil rights attorney Matthew Coyte in December 2008.
The charges of driving while intoxicated and receiving a stolen vehicle were never prosecuted.
"They threw him in solitary and then ignored him," said Coyte a year ago after a federal jury awarded Slevin $22 million. "He disappeared into delirium, and his mental illness was made worse by being isolated from human contact and a lack of medical care."
Slevin suffers from post-traumatic stress from what he called physical and mental mistreatment by corrections officials in Dona Ana County, which shares a border with Mexico in the southern part of the state. continue reading...