Video of Jonathan Paul in the Arlington jail
(Note: Updated to reflect the reduced charges.)
Two former Arlington jailers have pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges in the death of an inmate in 2015, officials said.
Steven Schmidt, 58, and Pedro Medina, 34, were on duty at the Arlington city jail in March 2015, when a struggle ensued between jailers and inmate Jonathan Paul.
Paul, 42, was taken to a hospital, where he died three days later.
Schmidt, the lead detention officer on duty, and Medina were initially indicted in November 2015 on charges of criminally negligent homicide, a state jail felony.
Monday, Schmidt pleaded guilty to official oppression, while Medina pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily injury, said Sam Jordan, spokeswoman for the Tarrant County district attorney’s office. Both are Class A misdemeanor charges punishable by up to one year in jail.
Their charges were reduced after they reached a sentencing agreement with prosecutors that will be announced in court Tuesday morning, Jordan said.
Police department investigators alleged that the jailers failed to render first aid while Paul lay motionless on the floor of his cell. Doctors diagnosed Paul with a kidney injury, respiratory failure, liver failure and a temperature of more than 103.
Prosecutors decided on the sentencing agreement after talking with Paul’s family and deciding that it would be “the best response to the level of personal involvement” Schmidt and Medina had in the incident, a statement from the district attorney’s office said.
“We are hopeful their accountability for their roles in this tragedy will bring some measure of closure for the Paul family,” the statement said.
Two other jailers — Matt Fisher and Wes Allen — were fired over the incident, but they were reinstated to their jobs with back pay after an arbitration hearing.
Arbitrator Kathy Fragnoli ruled that Fisher and Allen had not been properly trained to recognize or respond to a medical emergency.
Paul’s family reached a $1.25 million settlement with Arlington last year.