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41-Year-Old Woman Dies After Incarceration in Harrison County Jail – Federal Lawsuit Filed

Marshall – 03/10/2023 — 41-year-old Lonnetta Johnson had significant mental health issues. Her mental health issues, as well as medical issues requiring appropriate medication and treatment, were well-known to the Harrison County jail.

Ms. Johnson was arrested and jailed in the Harrison County jail on December 30, 2021, just a few hours after being previously released. She was arrested on low-level offenses, and there was no doubt that her serious mental health issues affected her ability to live a normal life. Regardless, instead of being taken to the nearest in-patient mental health facility, Harrison County chose to jail her for approximately two weeks. That two-week period concluded with Ms. Johnson’s death.

Witnesses at the jail indicate that Ms. Johnson was unclothed, sitting on a cold cell floor, in the same position, for hours. One witness had the opinion that the temperature in the cell was close to 60 degrees. When someone finally entered the cell to check on Ms. Johnson, it was too late. She was transported to a local hospital, and her body temperature was only 90.1 degrees.

Constitutional rights lawyer Dean Malone represents a family member and filed a federal lawsuit in federal court in Marshall. Mr. Malone said, “We continue to see absolutely horrible situations across Texas, in which mentally ill pre-trial detainees, arrested on low-level offenses, are not provided critically-needed mental and medical healthcare. There was no excuse for not intervening regarding Lonnetta sitting unclothed, on the cold cell floor, for hours. Her mental and physical condition was such that she could not ask for help. We must do better regarding severely mentally ill people. They deserve more than to be incarcerated while their lives hang in the balance.”

1 Comment

  1. Sherita on March 11, 2023 at 7:34 am

    My Lil brother also had mental illness and they never helped him. They gave him 14 years prison for burning down a abandon house no one was hurt and this house was abandon for years. I begged and begged for 6 years for them to obviate him they never did. But gave him 14 years. I also have a friend who’s wife had depression really bad and they said she committed suicide and wouldn’t even let him see her body. And how she commit suicide when she was under suicide watch so that means she had nothing to commit suicide. So what’s really going on in harrison county. They really ain’t protect and serve here. Just saying. This the crookedist town I’ve heard.. Yea I said it.. sry for the loss of the Johnsons family prayers going up for yall. Hope Justice will finally be served

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