Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Inmate Calls His Pain 'Living Hell'

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Inmate Calls His Pain 'Living Hell'

Article excerpt

INJURIES: He says he was badly beaten by deputies at the DeSoto County Jail


Jody Holland rates his current pain level at "10 out of 10."

He is suffering debilitating migraines. His neck and throat throb constantly. It hurts to eat -- it is hard to swallow water. He is losing weight. He can only turn his head slowly. He fears he is still suffering from a concussion and soft tissue damage in his neck.

"The staff at Hardee County jail have been nice, but their hands are tied. All they can give me is Tylenol," he said. "This is an absolute living hell."

Though he is housed in Hardee, DeSoto County Sheriff's officials are responsible for Holland's medical care. Any doctor's visits must be scheduled by DeSoto.

"All we're doing is housing him," said Hardee County Sheriff's Lt. Hershel Stone. "If he gets critical, we can take him to the hospital, but as far as going to the doctor, that's for DeSoto County to say."

Holland, his attorney and family believe if he is returned to the DeSoto County Jail he will be killed.

The Arcadia resident suffered massive injuries while in the custody of the DeSoto County Sheriff's Office.

Holland, 43, says DeSoto deputies beat him on three separate occasions, slamming his head into a concrete wall, punching him in the face and chest and choking him nearly unconscious.

"I need an outside doctor -- a specialist," Holland said from the Hardee jail's visiting room Friday -- speaking on a recorded phone that garbled his voice and made him difficult to understand.

He scoffs at the suggestion by DeSoto Sheriff's officials that his injuries were self-inflicted.

"Of course they weren't," he said. "There's no way I could have done it."

Holland bore bright purple bruising on his neck and the left side of his face Friday.

Blood vessels in both eyes were still burst, which Holland said were caused by a deputy's choke hold.

DeSoto Sheriff's officials say they were unaware of the allegations until contacted this week by the Herald-Tribune -- even though much of Holland's head was covered with dark purple bruises while he was at their jail.

Officials denied that any staff member used force on Holland, but they quickly launched an investigation after being contacted by the newspaper. …

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