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Suit over inmate death returns to county

Staff writer

A wrongful death lawsuit filed September 2022 against the City of Marion and Marion County, then transferred to Sedgwick County after a partial settlement, has been moved back to Marion County District Court.

A status conference in the case is scheduled for April 17. Marion County and the sheriff’s office are the only original defendants remaining in the suit.

Kathy Parrish filed the suit Sept. 15, 2023, on behalf of herself and her grandchildren, whose mother, Julie Starks, hanged herself Dec. 5, 2020, in Marion County Jail.

Parrish sued the Marion Police Department and the sheriff’s office.

The city settled its portion of the suit for $15,000 in June. The case was transferred to Sedgwick County to proceed against the county.

On Sept. 20, a Sedgwick County judge ruled that Marion County would be the proper venue for the case.

A new case number was assigned when the case was transferred back to Marion County, and a new status conference is set for April 17.

Starks was arrested Dec. 4, 2020, by then-Marion officer Steven Janzen and booked into jail by Tammy Whiteside.

Parrish contended that both the police department and the sheriff’s office knew Starks had a history of mental illness and suicide attempts, and that jailers did not place Starks on a suicide watch.

The suit further contends that jail staff lied about what happened after Starks was found hanging the next morning; had a fellow inmate who was not trained in performing CPR perform CPR on Starks; didn’t dispatch an ambulance until 19 minutes after Starks was found hanged; and didn’t have proper training and supervision of officers, jailers, dispatch and emergency medical providers.

Last modified Feb. 14, 2024

 

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