Mother speaks about son's jail suicide

The mother of a man who committed suicide at Los Angeles County Jail spoke out about her son’s death yesterday. KPCC’s Frank Stoltze reports.

The mother of a man who committed suicide at Los Angeles County Jail spoke out about her son’s death yesterday. KPCC’s Frank Stoltze reports.

Frank Stoltze: Sheriff’s officials say John Thomas Horton III, hanged himself at the downtown jail on March 22nd. His mother, Helen Jones, doesn’t believe that.

Helen Jones: I just can’t see it. I’m not saying that just ‘cause that’s my son. It’s just ‘cause I knew the kind of person he was.

Stoltze: Jones says her 22-year-old son was a good boy who was in jail because he’d never finished a court-ordered drug program. She isn’t sure how her son died, but she says jailers never should have put him alone in a cell.

Jones: He needed medical attention and I’m just trying to figure out how do you throw somebody who needs medical attention in a hole like that?

Stoltze: The sheriff’s Office of Independent Review is investigating the suicide. It’s asking whether jail guards screened Horton for mental illness. Horton’s death coincides with an ACLU report that said the jail fails to identify and treat thousands of mentally ill inmates. The L.A. County sheriff denies that charge.

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