Death Certificate: Inmate Death A "Homicide, Multiple Blunt Force Injuries"
GEORGETOWN, Del. - Two months ago, a Lewes man facing outstanding traffic charges died while at Sussex Correctional Institution.
The investigation continues but his death certificate was released to 47 ABC and says he may have been beaten to death.
At the end of February, 48-year-old Ronald Shoup was charged with a number of traffic violations, including DUI. But when he couldn't post bail, he was imprisoned pending trial. Seven days later, the Lewes man was dead. According to his death certificate, it was ruled a homicide caused by "multiple blunt force injuries".
"There's a difference between your child dying of some natural causes or some type of sickness or illness as opposed to dying by somebody essentially beat them to death," said attorney Steve Hampton.
Hampton, an attorney for the family says Shoup had a history with drinking. Shoup's parents spoke with their son every one of those seven days in jail, fearing he would have some symptoms of withdrawal, says Hampton.
In an email to 47 ABC, Department of Corrections confirms seeing symptoms.
It was during that response, according to the death certificate, that Shoup sustained lethal trauma while being restrained.
"Why they didn't take him to the emergency room and simply call the doctor and order medication? I don't know the answer to that," said Hampton. "They just want to see justice done."
Delaware State Police sergeant Paul Shavack says they are still actively investigating this case, continuing interviews and reviewing any and all video evidence from the night of Shoup's death.
As far as the next step for the family, Hampton says there could ultimately be a civil lawsuit, but at this time, the family is in a waiting mode to see if the state moves forward with any charges.
Below is DOC's full response:
The Delaware State Police homicide unit is actively investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of Ronald Shoup, which limits what information can be shared by the Department of Correction (DOC). DOC officials, however, would like to share some information that will provide an overview of events prior to Mr. Shoup's death.
Mr. Shoup was admitted into DOC custody on 02/20/14 in default of bail on charges of Failure to Have Insurance Identification in Possession (2 counts), Driving While Suspended or Revoked (2 counts), Noncompliance with Conditions of Recognizance Bond of Conditions-Felony, Failure to Have Registration Plate Light, 5th Offense DUI after 4 prior offenses - DUI of Alcohol, Breach of Release, and 3rd Offense Driving a Vehicle Under the Influence of Alcohol. While in DOC custody it was determined that Mr. Shoup was suffering from symptoms consistent with substance withdrawal. To provide appropriate medical attention to Mr. Shoup, he was moved to the infirmary at Sussex Correctional Institution on 02/25/14 at 1859 hours.
On 02/26/14 at approximately 1840 hours, the medical staff requested assistance from DOC security staff to forcibly administer emergency medications due to the offender's severe agitation and risk of injuring himself and the medical staff. The DOC security staff assisted the medical staff with the administration of the emergency medications.
On 02/27/14 at approximately 0055 hours, the medical staff again requested assistance from DOC security staff to forcibly administer emergency medications due to the offender's severe agitation and risk of injuring himself and the medical staff. The DOC security staff again assisted the medical staff with the administration of the emergency medications.
On 02/27/14 at 0500 hours, the mental health observer noted being able to see Mr. Shoup's chest rise and fall indicating breathing, however, within minutes, the mental health observer did not see chest movements. Medical staff entered the room and initiated CPR after Mr. Shoup was found unresponsive. Mr. Shoup was transported by ambulance to Beebe Healthcare at approximately 0540 hours. He was pronounced dead at Beebe Healthcare at 0925 hours.
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