Correction: The title of this story originally said Shawn Slavens died after his cellmate allegedly beat him at the Oklahoma County Jail. Slavens is not dead; he is brain dead and on life support, according to his sister.

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A metro family is demanding answers from the Oklahoma County Jail. 

An inmate is in the hospital, on life support, fighting for his life according to his sister.  

A heartbroken sister is wondering why her brother, Shawn Michael Slavens is brain dead.

They might not ever have known either, because no one from the detention center ever called.

She admits her brother suffers from mental illness and has been in and out of jail on charges ranging from indecent exposure to obstructing an officer.  

“He was in Oklahoma County on June 25th and beaten by his cellmate and is now in ICU trauma and brain dead. He’s got a brain stem injury,” said Stephanie Powers, Shawn Michael Slavens’ sister.

Shawn Michael Slavens is brain dead after being nearly beaten to death by his violent cellmate. That’s what his sister tells news 4; she’s upset because no one from the jail notified her brother was in the hospital. 

“He’s definitely not only a mental patient, but he’s definitely been on the streets for a while, too, off and on. And the last few years, really he’s on drugs and alcohol because of his mental. He doesn’t want to take his meds… Not fully there, but he’s got a good heart. He’s a good guy,” said Powers.  

According to the family, Slaven suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorder.  

Stephanie says jail is not the place for her brother, but because of his condition, that is often where he ends up.

“He’s not violent whatsoever. He like he can’t hurt a fly…. Honestly I think he was weighing like 100lbs,” says Powers.  

But this time, Stephanie says she didn’t know Shawn had been arrested, let alone nearly beaten to death, until a phone call from his attorney days after he was hospitalized.    

“He called me and was told that through a friend, that he was put in ICU after being in Oklahoma County jail… So, we didn’t know until two days. And I went up there on day three to see him,” said Powers.

Officials with the Oklahoma County Detention Center, confirming there was a fight saying, “Early Saturday morning there was an altercation between two detainees in a cell. One detainee was taken to the hospital. At this time it is a active investigation. Once the investigation is complete it will presented it to the District Attorney’s Office for appropriate charges,” said Mark Opgrande, communications director, Oklahoma County Jail.

Stephanie is now left with only a few options.

“They said we can put a track on him and send him to a nursing home… Or we can just pull what he’s got now and see how long he’ll make it. But he has no brain activity whatsoever.”  


Power says the Oklahoma County Jail is failing people who suffer from mental illness.

“They definitely have failed… I just wish there was more in this state with mental health. You know, I really do. And they got to stop sending them to jails and they get killed. It’s not right. You know, it’s praying he can pull out of it.” 

The last time Powers and Slavens spoke, he was looking for a ride and Powers did not go pick him up. Unfortunately, he ended up back in jail. 

This is an ongoing investigation, and we will continue to follow it as more information becomes available.