Claim Filed in Death of Disabled Man who Died in State's Care

OCTOBER 20, 2006 - Posted at 11:16 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The family of a mentally retarded man who died in state care has filed a claim against the state Department of Health and Human Services alleging that employees failed to protect and save his life.  The family of Leroy Johnson filed the claims with the Arkansas Claims Commission, which hears complaints against state agencies.

The 41-year-old Johnson died April 24 after he fought with three employees at the Alexander Human Development Center, where he had lived off an on for 30 years.  Although the cause of Johnson's death remains unknown, an autopsy listed his manner of death as natural, saying he had coronary artery disease, high blood pressure and an enlarged heart.  Medical examiners said the fight altercation likely exacerbated his heart disease and led to his death.

Prosecutors decided not to file criminal charges.  But the center fired one worker and disciplined two others.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)