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Lincoln County to pay $260,000 to family of jail inmate who hanged himself

Lincoln County to pay $260,000 to family of jail inmate who hanged himself

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LINCOLN COUNTY • Officials here agreed Thursday to pay $260,000 to the family of a man who hanged himself with his pants in the Lincoln County Jail in 2011.

A judge approved the terms of the settlement in U.S. District Court in St. Louis. It ends a lawsuit filed by the family of Terry L. Marler Jr. against Troy, Lincoln County and Troy police Officer Michiyo Tumulty.

Marler family lawyer Gonzalo Fernandez said Thursday that Marler was on medication to fight depression and had recently been hospitalized for both depression and suicidal thoughts when Troy police were called to the family home on Aug. 21, 2011.

Police said at the time of his death that Marler had pulled his wife’s hair and blocked her from leaving their home, then chased her down the block and pulled her back by her arm and hair. He choked her, smacked her twice in the face and cut her right-hand ring finger using a pocketknife, they said.

Police arrested Marler and took him to jail.

Marler’s wife, Angela Marler, told an officer that her husband was on medication and had threatened to kill himself, Fernandez said. The officer took the medication to jail but didn’t tell jail staff about Terry Marler’s threats, Fernandez said.

The suit says that Marler’s relatives also told jail staff about his suicidal threats the next day.

Fernandez said that there have been allegations that staffers had a third warning — that Marler threatened to kill himself in jail and was overheard by inmates and guards.

The suit says that within an hour of that threat, Marler, 37, was found hanging in his cell. He died the next day at a hospital.

Jail officials told the Post-Dispatch then that Marler was found about 4:30 p.m. during a head count and had been seen at 3:57 p.m. by a jail nurse. He was held at the time in lieu of $40,000 cash bail on charges of domestic assault, felonious restraint and armed criminal action.

Jail and police officials did not return messages seeking comment Thursday. A private attorney representing the Missouri Public Entity Risk Management Fund, which insures both Troy and the county, declined to comment.

After an inmate’s overdose death in 2008, Lincoln County Jail officials told the Post-Dispatch that staff lacked suicide prevention training but would get it and make changes.

Under Thursday’s settlement, each of Marler’s three children receives $40,000. Angela Marler gets almost $27,000, and lawyers’ fees and costs account for the rest.

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