OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – We are continuing to follow the story of an Oklahoma County Jail inmate who is in the hospital, fighting for his life.
Shawn Michael Slavens remains in the ICU. His sister tells News 4 he is brain dead after he was severely beaten by his cellmate, a man with a long history of violent crimes.
His sister tells us her brother is on a ventilator and diagnosed with traumatic brain injury.
“He’s still the same. The bruises are getting worse, you know, because of healing, I guess. And still brain dead. No response,” said Stephanie Powers, Slavens’ sister.
Stephanie Powers tells us he is fighting a dangerous bacterial infection.
“He’s got Mersa now in the nose…which is common, I guess, when you’re in ICU and tubes and, you know, and life support,” said Powers.
His family is very upset and wants to know why Shawn was in a cell with a violent detainee in the first place, and why they were never notified about his injuries.
Questions remain unanswered by Oklahoma County Detention Center officials, but one Oklahoma lawmaker we talked to says he believes families should be told.
“They should have been notified. So, I don’t know the exact procedures…that process…they should have been allowed to know what was going on, whether or not they could have seen that person while they were in the hospital,” said George Young, Oklahoma Senator.
Records reveal families are not the only ones not being notified.
The Oklahoma County Detention Center failed to let the State Department of Health know, over a three-month period starting in July of last year, that 23 detainees had been injured. October entries were also not complete.
“This has been an ongoing problem in Oklahoma County since the jail was built almost 30 years ago. And I know this is particularly relevant now since the county passed the bond issue on Tuesday to build a new facility,” said Carter Jennings, a criminal defense attorney in Oklahoma City who manages Carter Jennings Law Firm.
With nine deaths in the jail this year, Jennings says it’s time to make a change.
“You can’t prevent 100 percent of things, obviously, but they can take steps to do that by doing some of the things I talked about, like more money for staff training and health treatment there….just more guards and more staffing and better training.”
Changes that will come too late for Shawn Slavens. His sister says the jail has failed her and her family.
“You completely failed all of us. I mean, nine deaths this year alone. That’s not okay. They don’t even tell you about them. They seem to keep it hidden. Why? What’s going on in the jail?” said Powers.
This is an ongoing investigation, and we will continue to follow it as more information becomes available.