Proposed settlement $825,000 in Red River County jail death suit

Chris Cabler (Submitted photo)
Chris Cabler (Submitted photo)

TEXARKANA, Texas -- A proposed settlement of $825,000 has been reached in a lawsuit stemming from a 2019 hanging death in the Red River County jail.

The family of Christopher Wayne Cabler filed suit last year in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas. Their lawyer, Dean Malone of Dallas, said Red River County has agreed to an $825,000 judgment to settle the case without admitting any wrongdoing.

"Jails across Texas need to do a better job of monitoring inmates with suicidal tendencies," Malone said. "Hopefully, the lawsuit has put other Texas counties on notice that they need to act to curb the suicide epidemic."

Before he hanged himself May 5, 2019, Cabler had cut himself and swallowed a razor blade during a previous stay at the jail in January 2019.

After being released from the hospital in January 2019, Cabler allegedly told staff he was going to do it again. Cabler also allegedly told staff he had attempted suicide by hanging outside the jail eight months before he swallowed a razor blade.

The suit complains that Cabler should have been under continuous observation after his April 16, 2019, arrest but was not and that he should never have been issued items such as a mattress, mattress cover and jumpsuit that could be used to hang oneself.

"Providing an inmate, including Chris, with these items was a clear and unabashed violation of all known jail standards and practices," the complaint alleges.

The suit further alleges that Cabler was not routinely administered medication prescribed for his serious mental health issues while in the jail and that his medical requests to modify his medications and medication schedule were not addressed by nursing or other medical staff.

"It appears that one or more defendants, and/or other jail employees, might have encouraged Chris to commit suicide," the complaint alleges. "After he committed suicide, a note was found in his cell that read in all caps, "I couldn't be alone anymore I'm tired of them telling me to do it that's all they ever say do it do it do is (sic) so f*** I'll do it! All I wanted was to be able to talk to somebody. I can't be alone anymore! Y'all did this to me on purpose!"

The complaint alleges that Cabler was housed alone during April and May 2019 and that his mother had made repeated requests for him to be housed with other inmates as she expressed concern that his mental health was deteriorating.

The complaint notes a failed inspection in July 2019 performed by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards. A report on the inspection found that Cabler was not given medication as prescribed. The inspection report further noted that no documentation existed in Cabler's file that an appropriate mental health referral was made, and that a screening form for suicide and mental health issues was not filled out as required by minimum jail standards.

The Red River County jail is currently in good standing with the Texas Commission on Jail Standards.

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