Incoming Assumption Parish Sheriff plans to close youth detention center used by many southeast parishes _lowres (copy)

Leland Falcon

A woman has filed suit against Assumption Parish Sheriff Leland Falcon and other parish officials, claiming her son died hours after being booked into jail in February 2018 because the jail's staff failed to give him the heart medicine he was required to take three times a day. 

A statement by the Assumption Parish Sheriff's Office at the time said that Edward Murphy Jr. collapsed in his cell at shortly before 6:30 a.m. on Feb. 4.

Jail employees saw him in distress, followed emergency protocols and called an ambulance, the Sheriff's Office said. Murphy, who was 54, died at Thibodaux Regional Medical Center shortly after 8 a.m. that morning. 

According to an obituary that ran in an area newspaper, Murphy was a native of Labadieville and had been a resident of Beaumont, Texas.

The lawsuit filed by Edward's mother, Mary Murphy, says Edward had been stopped on the evening of Feb. 3, 2018, in Napoleonville by a State Police trooper for a routine sticker inspection, when he was suspected of driving while intoxicated.

He was booked into the Assumption Parish Detention Center in Napoleonville on a count of DWI, as well as driving with an expired inspection sticker and a suspended license, the suit said.  

The lawsuit was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in New Orleans and names as defendants the parish jail's warden and chief medical officer, as well as the sheriff.

The suit says on the way to the jail, the state trooper stopped at Murphy's home, so he could get his medicine, after Murphy told him he has to take the medicine three times daily for a heart condition.

At the parish detention center, when he was booked into jail, Murphy also told officers about his heart condition and medicine, according to the lawsuit. 

"Employees at the Assumption Parish Detention Center showed deliberate indifference to Edward Murphy's medical needs and failed to provide him with his heart medication while he was detained," the suit said.  

The suit asks for damages on several points, including the physical and mental pain and anguish suffered by Murphy prior to death, funeral expenses and medical expenses. 

Assumption Parish Sheriff's Office Commander Lonny Cavalier said  the Sheriff's Office does not comment on ongoing litigation. 

The attorney for Mary Murphy, David Vicknair of the Scott, Vicknair, Hair and Checki firm in New Orleans said the firm was "looking forward to protecting the family's interest and investigating" the case. 

Follow Ellyn Couvillion on Twitter, @EllynCouvillion.