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Letters detail what man went through in solitary confinement | Crime

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Letters detail what man went through in solitary confinement

KOB Eyewitness News 4 is getting a closer look into what a man endured while in solitary confinement for two years.

On Tuesday, a federal jury awarded Stephen Slevin $22 million for the inhumane treatment he endured while at the Dona Ana County Jail. Slevin had been driving through Dona Ana County in 2005 when he was arrested for a DWI.

From day one, Slevin said he fought to see a doctor to treat his depression.

His lawyer, Matt Coyte, said Slevin was immediately labeled suicidal and had just one medical examination before being forced into solitary confinement.

Slevin wrote more than a dozen letters, all with the same message. 

" He hand writes these letters, please help me. The medication is not working," Coyte said.

One of the first letters was written on September 4, 2005 - just days after Slevin was arrested. In it he said he's not sleeping, is in a deep depression and cannot eat.

 In another letter from November, Slevin once again mentions his depression and said his "dreams have been weird and bizarre."

At one point he also writes that he "doesn't know how much longer [he] can go on."

All of the letters are written to a Dr. Don, but as Coyte points out, Dr. Don is not a doctor at all, but a nurse practitioner for the jail.

Coyte said Dr. Don was the one prescribing Slevin's medication even though he only has a bachelor's degree in psychology.

The Dona Ana County Jail would not comment, but officials said they do have plans to appeal the jury's decision.


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