Jury convicts Colorado deputies in detox van death

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BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — Jurors convicted Friday 2 erstwhile Colorado sheriff’s deputies accused of causing the decease of an intoxicated antheral by placing him connected his tummy and squeezing him into a van to instrumentality him to a detox center.

Former Boulder County sheriff’s deputies James O’Brien, 52, and Adam Lunn, 39, were recovered blameworthy of manslaughter successful the decease of Demetrius Shankling, 23, successful 2018, the Longmont Times-Call reported.

According to an apprehension affidavit, they enactment the 6-foot (1.8-meter) gangly man, with his hands down his back, successful a compartment that was little than 5 feet (1.5 meters) long.

O’Brien and Lunn had to property connected the compartment doorway to adjacent it, causing Shankling’s limb to get wedged against the wrong of the door, the affidavit said.

When they reached the detox halfway the aboriginal hours of Sept. 9, 2018, Shankling was unresponsive and not breathing.

He died aft spending 27 days successful a coma, Senior Deputy District Attorney Christian Gardner-Wood said. An autopsy recovered that Shankling died of suffocation due to the fact that of his positioning, with intoxicant and amphetamine arsenic contributing factors.

In closing arguments, the prosecution told jurors that O’Brien and Lunn acted recklessly and disregarded their grooming connected positional asphyxia. The men’s lawyer, Carrie Slinkard, argued that the erstwhile deputies, who were moving an other displacement astatine the time, were not precise acquainted with the van.

The sheriff’s bureau was successful complaint of taking radical to detox that play due to the fact that students had conscionable returned to the University of Colorado and metropolis and assemblage constabulary wanted to support their officers connected patrol instead, she told jurors during opening statements.

Slinkard replayed audio from erstwhile Shankling was recovered unconscious by the deputies.

“Based connected the audio we heard, nary 1 would disagree that they were concerned. It was a tragedy, but a genuine accident,” she said.

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