Inmate dies after 3-day plea for help goes ignored

Jail staffers thought that inmate Rodney Graham was detoxing from illegal drugs.

Instead, he was dying of renal failure.

A Douglas County jury will begin its deliberations this week to determine whether or not two medical staffers, Kelli Brown and Stephanie Evans, are responsible for the 2009 death of Rodney Graham.

Evans was the nurse supervisor at the time of the incident. She says Graham tested positive for every drug and that they moved him to a cell with 24-hour surveillance while he detoxed. However, an autopsy three days later showed no trace of drugs.

Brown was the EMT who checked on Graham the day he died. His blood oxygen level was dangerously low, at 66, but she did not think it was an emergency because he was conscious and breathing normally.

When Graham died, investigators originally ruled that he died of natural causes, so the family hired a civil attorney. When the surveillance video surfaced of Graham calling for help three days before he died, the criminal case proceeded.

The disturbing video shows Graham vomiting, stumbling and falling, and crying for help multiple times. Evans claims she never saw the surveillance, responding “no” when defense attorney Frank Wynn asked, “Did anyone from Control ever contact you and say look at this monitor. We have a problem regarding Rodney Graham?”

Graham’s mother says that Rodney had renal problems since he was young. She claims she contacted the jail to give them medical information on her son but that she “was told no, that they were not needed, that Rodney was detoxing,”