After being incarcerated for only two weeks at the Allegheny County Jail - 57-year-old Anthony Talotta - a man with severe mental disabilities, died on Wednesday. This is the Allegheny County Jail's 17th death in the past 18 months, and now the jail oversight board wants answers.
"He had been there less than 2 weeks and now he is dead," said Allegheny County Council member-at-large, Bethany Hallam, a member of the jail oversight board.
On Sept. 9, Talotta, who has severe mental disabilities, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault and prohibited use of a weapon.
According to police documents, Talotta, who lived at a home for people with disabilities, poured boiling water on a staff member while cooking dinner and then stabbed them with a kitchen knife- as a result, he was taken to county jail.
"A man such as Mr. Talotta should have never been in jail in the first place, a man with severe intellectual disabilities, severe autism should not have been in a correctional institution," Hallam said.
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In a statement released by the jail, it explains that Talotta was experiencing a medical emergency on Sept. 20. A physician at the jail assessed him, and then cleared him to go back to his unit. Hours later another emergency began, and this time Talotto was sent to the hospital. A day later, he died.
"I went to the jail, and I talked to the people who were incarcerated on Mr. Tallota's pod and their experience watching a man die in front of them was heartbreaking," Hallam said.
Hallam said the notification of Talotta's death is also a concern - she said the board wasn't notified.
A jail spokesperson said: "After an individual is released from custody, the jail no longer has any right to view health information, and if there is a death the medical examiner's office will release that info."
Talotta was held on a $1,000 bond. The jail said if Talotta had posted $100, he would have been released. He was scheduled for a preliminary hearing in the case on Monday.
"This is a complete failure from the top, down to the bottom," Hallam said.
Talotta has an attorney, and his death is being investigated.
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