MADRAS, Ore. — Three sheriff’s officers in Oregon have been indicted on charges of criminally negligent homicide in connection with an inmate’s death.
The indictment was filed early Thursday against Michael Durkan, Cory Skidgel and Anthony Hansen — corrections officers with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office in central Oregon, according to court documents and a statement from the Jefferson County district attorney.
They are accused in the death of a James Wippel, 59, who died at the Jefferson County Jail last April.
At the time, the sheriff’s office said Wippel suffered a serious medical issue a few days after landing in jail on drug charges. Paramedics arrived to take him to a hospital, but he died at the scene.
John Wentworth, the deputy district attorney with the Clackamas County district attorney’s office who is handling the case, said authorities aren’t planning to arrest the three before their arraignment, which is scheduled for April 19.
An attorney representing Skidgel, Jennifer Kimble, said Skidgel would be pleading not guilty. An attorney representing Anthony Hansen could not immediately be reached Thursday, nor could an attorney for Durkan be identified.
Jefferson County district attorney Steven Leriche said his office handed off the case to the Clackamas prosecutor to avoid any conflict of interest.
“Jefferson county is a small place,” Leriche said. “We all know these corrections deputies.”
Leriche added that he hadn’t been close with any of the three.
Neither Leriche nor Wentworth would comment on what led investigators to charge the three.
Negligent homicide, the charge faced by each of the three, carries a maximum sentence of five years.
Durkan and Skidgel are deputies; Hansen is a corporal. Leriche confirmed the three had been removed from active duty.
Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive, http://www.oregonlive.com