Arlington

Arlington jailers get probation in inmate death case

Video of Jonathan Paul in the Arlington jail

Editor's note: This video contains graphic content. Jonathan Paul died in March 2015 after a struggle with jailers at the Arlington city jail. The video of his stay at the jail was released a day after two Arlington jailers were indicted in his de
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Editor's note: This video contains graphic content. Jonathan Paul died in March 2015 after a struggle with jailers at the Arlington city jail. The video of his stay at the jail was released a day after two Arlington jailers were indicted in his de

Two former Arlington jailers were each sentenced to one year of deferred adjudication probation Tuesday for failing to render aid to an inmate who died at the city jail in 2015.

Steve Schmidt, 58, and Pedro Medina, 34, who were initially indicted on felony charges of criminally negligent homicide in the case, pleaded guilty Monday to reduced charges.

Schmidt pleaded guilty to official oppression, while Medina pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily injury. Both are Class A misdemeanors.

Schmidt and Medina were on duty at the city jail in March 2015 when a struggle ensued between several jailers and inmate Jonathan Paul.

Paul, 42, was taken to a hospital, where he died three days later. Doctors diagnosed Paul with a kidney injury, respiratory failure, liver failure and a temperature of more than 103.

Police department investigators alleged that the jailers failed to render first aid while Paul lay motionless on the floor of his cell.

Schmidt, who was the lead detention officer on duty, retired during the investigation into Paul’s death. Medina was fired.

The Tarrant County district attorney’s office decided to reduce Schmidt’s and Medina’s charges after they agreed to plead guilty. Prosecutors also talked with Paul’s family and determined that the sentencing agreement 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.

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