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U.S. District Court

Stay imposed pending outcome of trial against sheriff’s deputies

The family of a Lucas County Jail inmate, whose in-custody death in 2004 led to criminal charges against the sheriff and convictions for two of his staff, has requested that a wrongful death lawsuit against the county be allowed to resume.

The family of Carlon Benton filed a motion Monday in U.S. District Court in Toledo requesting that the stay that was imposed on the case pending the outcome of the criminal case be lifted. The request notes that the family first filed its wrongful death complaint in 2008.

In early 2004, the 24-year-old North Toledo man was being held in the jail on two counts of aggravated murder when he died. He faced the death penalty if convicted.

The wrongful death suit alleges sheriff’s employees caused Mr. Benton’s death when they “repeatedly physically assaulted him in 2004.”

After the civil case was filed, federal authorities indicted Sheriff James Telb, Capt. Robert McBroom, and former employees John Gray and Jay Schmeltz on criminal charges related to the death. Sheriff Telb and Captain McBroom were acquitted after a jury trial and Gray and Schmeltz were found guilty and sentenced to time in prison.

The motion noted that the convictions for Gray and Schmeltz have since been upheld by the federal appellate court and so there is no longer a reason to keep the civil case on hold.

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