Family members said the official autopsy on Craig Prescott, a former deputy who died while in the downtown Modesto jail in April, left them with more questions than answers.
They plan to seek clarification in a meeting scheduled today with Dr. Eugene Carpenter, the pathologist who performed the autopsy. Officials said the pathologist offered to talk with family members about his findings.
"We just want to know the truth," said Felton "Mickey" Prescott, Craig Prescott's brother.
The Prescott family has disputed the autopsy results and arranged for experts to conduct a separate autopsy, which has been completed. They expect to have those results by next week.
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Deputies in the jail used Tasers and pepper spray to subdue Craig Prescott during an April 11 altercation. He died two days later after he was taken off life support.
On Monday, the Sheriff's Department declined to say how many times Prescott was shocked with Tasers or clarify what caused the marks on Prescott's body that the autopsy attributed to "nonlethal weaponry."
The report describes 14 circular lesions on his upper back and similar injuries on his left buttock and left upper extremities. The injuries were a half-inch to three-quarters of an inch in size and "consistent with the history of nonlethal weaponry," the report says.
Mickey Prescott said the description of the injuries is similar to what his brother said was a Taser wound on his back after his release in January from the behavioral health center in Modesto. During a stay in the psychiatric center, officers were called to forcibly subdue Craig Prescott, who had struggled with psychiatric issues, his family said.
Prescott was arrested April 7 on suspicion of stalking and making threats against his estranged wife, who had a restraining order against him and custody of their six children.
Sheriff Adam Christianson offered no clarification Monday of what caused the circular injuries described in the autopsy report. "It would be inappropriate for me to comment on any use of force deployed to control Mr. Prescott," he said.
Deputy Raj Singh, the Sheriff's Department spokesman, said deputies may use other nonlethal means to bring inmates under control, though he didn't say whether these were used in dealing with Prescott. The weapons include projectiles such as pepper balls or water balls; jailers also may use batons in a jabbing motion.
The autopsy concluded that the weaponry consisted of Tasers and nonlethal projectiles, which were not identified. There were no clear Taser marks on Prescott's chest area, either front or back, but a few wounds on his thighs and arms were consistent with Tasers, the report says.
The autopsy found that Prescott had hypertensive heart disease. After the report's release last week, officials suggested the struggle with deputies strained his cardiovascular system, resulting in his death.
Undersheriff Bill Heyne said the department did not find wrongdoing by the deputies who subdued Prescott. He said they followed department policies and procedures.
The district attorney's office is reviewing the circumstances of Prescott's death and doesn't expect to release its findings for a month. An administrative investigation is being conducted by the Sheriff Department's internal affairs division.
Bee staff writer Ken Carlson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2321.