Judge: Jail not place for 80-year-old woman awaiting hearing
BY JERRY WOFFORD World Staff Writer
Thursday, September 20, 2012
9/20/12 at 7:51 AM
An 80-year-old woman awaiting sentencing for manslaughter will undergo a mental competency evaluation and will not return to the Tulsa Jail before her competency hearing, a judge ruled Wednesday.
The Tulsa Jail's medical director testified at a hearing Wednesday that Betty Edwards Jamison's condition had worsened significantly since she arrived at the Tulsa Jail earlier this month.
Jamison pleaded no contest to first-degree manslaughter Sept. 4 in connection to the death of Latrice White, 31, in a vehicle crash Jan. 18, 2010.
Dr. Andrew Adusei, medical director at the Tulsa Jail, described Jamison's mental condition as "severely demented with Alzheimer's and dementia."
Her physical condition has also deteriorated, requiring Jamison to be transferred to an area hospital for tests and procedures that the jail does not have the facilities or equipment to perform, Adusei said.
Tulsa County District Judge William Kellough said that considering the testimony from Adusei, a competency evaluation was needed before Jamison's sentencing hearing, scheduled for Oct. 15.
Kellough lined out three options for Jamison's care while she awaits either a finding of competency or her sentencing if she is found competent.
Once discharged from the hospital, Jamison would be transferred to an extended care facility covered by her insurance or Medicare and would be under the supervision of the Sheriff's Office, as she is currently at the hospital. If a facility is not available, she would be transferred to her home with an ankle monitor and receive home health care. The third option would come from the Department of Human Services Adult Protective Services, which Kellough said has opened a case for Jamison and could find placement.
"I outlined three options, none of which are David L. Moss" - the Tulsa Jail, Kellough said. "All of this is interim, between plea and sentencing or adjudication of incompetence."
Adusei said that when Jamison arrived at the Tulsa Jail, her "mental state was below baseline level of function." They were able to provide medication to her that helps normalize her, but she still gets confused.
"She can carry a conversation when she's on her medication," Adusei said. But, "short term (memory) is not there."
Adusei said that on top of her dementia and kidney disease, Jamison's heart was not pumping strong enough, causing her heart rate to drop "significantly to the point you can't sustain life."
Jamison was taken to an area hospital last week to have tests done to determine the cause of the heart problem and stabilize her, Adusei said.
Because of the many medical conditions, Adusei said Jamison needs constant medical observation.
"If something were to happen to her and she became confused again, we would not catch it in time," Adusei said. "We don't have the staff, and we don't have the equipment."
On Jan. 18, 2010, Jamison drove her car through a stop sign at more than 50 mph and caused a three-car collision at 56th Street North and Hartford Avenue. White was pronounced dead at the scene.
A court document states that Jamison was "impaired by Tramadol prescription medication and alcohol" at the time of the accident. Tramadol is a pain reliever with "side effects that may impair thinking and reactions," a police affidavit says.
Original Print Headline: No jail for defendant prior to a hearing
Jerry Wofford 918-581-8310
Betty Edwards Jamison: The 80-year-old woman awaits a competency hearing after a fatal auto crash in 2010
Judge William Kellough: He said he outlined three interim options, none of which are jail, for a defendant awaiting a competency evaluation