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Mentally incompetent Utah man dies in hospital after jail episode left him paralyzed

First Published      Last Updated Apr 14 2017 03:02 pm


Deemed mentally incompetent, he was hurt while waiting for treatment at the state hospital.

Funeral services for a mentally incompetent man, who died six weeks after he suffered a neck fracture in a Weber County jail cell, are scheduled for Saturday.

Matthew Ryan Hall, 31 — who was paralyzed from the neck down following the jail episode — died April 7 surrounded by family at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City, according his obituary on the Myers Mortuary website, after he jumped or fell from his cell's sink while on suicide watch in late February.

Jail video shows a naked Hall with disheveled long hair and beard running headfirst into a wall three times before climbing up on the sink and falling headfirst to the floor.




At the time, Hall had been waiting five months for a bed and treatment at the Utah State Hospital.

Utah designates 100 beds at the hospital for inmate mental health treatment, but once the beds are occupied, additional defendants await openings from jail cells.

The Utah Legislature recently set aside $3 million in an effort to resolve a federal lawsuit filed by the Salt Lake City-based Disability Law Center, which alleges mentally ill defendants are not provided a speedy trial and suffer in jail without treatment because the state does not provide enough hospital beds and specialists to treat them.

Aaron Kinikini, legal director of the Disability Law Center, who viewed the jail video, said Hall clearly was not getting the level of mental-health treatment he needed. Weber County jail officials did not respond to requests for comment.

After corrections officers found Hall on the floor conscious and bleeding from his head, they rolled him over, handcuffed him, and sat him up against a wall, a Weber County jail report said. He was taken to McKay-Dee Hospital, and then to LDS Hospital, where he stayed until he died.

The Disability Law Center and the state have yet to reach an agreement regarding the lack of facilities and treatment for mentally ill inmates awaiting trial.

Hall's family members have requested donations be made to Myers Mortuary to help cover funeral costs, the obituary states. Services are set for 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the mortuary, 845 Washington Boulevard in Ogden.

Nathan Hall visited his brother in the hospital and spoke with The Salt Lake Tribune before his brother's death.

"I've never been through anything like this," Nathan Hall said of the experience. "It's so unexpected. He never wanted to hurt himself before."

Matthew Hall landed in jail after a November 2015 tussle with two Ogden police officers. He pleaded guilty to a felony and a handful of misdemeanors, but was found mentally incompetent for sentencing last fall.

mnoble@sltrib.com

Twitter: @mnoblenews

 

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