Former Arlington jailers receive probation for role in inmate's death

Formers jailers to serve one-year probation

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - There are moments that have haunted the family of Jonathan Paul for years; moments, captured on video, that show Arlington jailers struggling with Paul in the jail. He became responsive back in March 2015 after jailers held him down and used pepper spray. EMT's arrived nearly 30 minutes later.

Paul eventually died.

Tuesday, more than two years after the incident, two former jailers, 58-year-old Steven Schmidt and 34-year-old Pedro Medina, were sentenced to one-year deferred adjudication, or probation, each, for their roles in Paul's death, after pleading guilty to reduced misdemeanor charges. Their sentences of one-year deferred adjudication mean their records could eventually be cleared.

"I can only forgive you because the God I serve, I have to forgive you. But I still hurt. I'm still angry. I'm still upset," said Marvin Phillips, Paul's uncle. He addressed the men during the victim impact statement. He says he wishes his nephew would have received faster medical attention.

"Where does it start? Where does it stop? As far as with how you handle inmates, with how you handle human beings?" he asked the men.

After the sentencing, attorneys for the former jailers spoke to WFAA. 

"Of course, there’s remorse," said Robert Rogers, Medina's attorney. "No one wants that to happen. These were dedicated public servants."

But Rogers went on to say that these men were not to blame for what happened, a lack of training was.

"My client and Steve Schmidt, they're sacrificial lambs, they're scapegoats for the incompetent leadership of the (Arlington) police chief and the way he handled the jail," Rogers said.

Arlington Police would not respond to any of these claims, nor would they say if anything at the jail has changed since Jonathan Paul's death. Paul's uncle says the former jailers will go on with their lives, but his family will always have to think about how Jonathan didn't have that chance.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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