Former Island County Jail Guards Sentenced For Failing To Follow Protocols In Jail
April 18, 2018
(BELLINGHAM, WA.) – Two former Island County jail guards were sentenced Tuesday for falsifying jail logs in the tragic death of an inmate who died of dehydration; a death Whatcom County Prosecuting Attorney Dave McEachran, who handled the case for Island County called the result of a systemic failure of following protocols for inmate care at the jail.
Guards plead guilty in jail inmate's death.
The former guards, David Wayne Lind, 55, and Mark Edward Moffitt, 61, pleaded guilty Tuesday morning in Whatcom County Superior Court to falsifying jail logs in order to make it appear as though they checked, during the required times, on inmate Keaton Farris, 25, who died in 2015 naked on the floor of his cell from lack of water while in the midst of a mental health crisis.
The case was moved to Whatcom County in July 2017. Farris’s family reached a $4 million settlement with three Washington state counties in December 2015 for Farris’ death.
Prosecutor McEachran said the young man’s death, “Was a total failure by the entire staff, by people that should have known better. The psychologist, the nurse and they just did not follow through. Everybody has a part in this tragedy,” according to a report by The Bellingham Herald. [Ed. note: corrects earlier version with typo that said Birmingham Herald]
Even the defense attorney for the former guards, Doug Hyldahl agreed Farris’ death was preventable but due to a failure of the system at the jail, the proper procedures for inmate care were not followed and more than that, there was a “callousness from the top down in respect to the following of these procedures, specifically with regards to safety.”
Lind and Moffitt were sentenced to five days in jail along with 85 days of community service. Nine months of their sentences were suspended, according to the newspaper report.