Following an investigation into the February 11 death of an inmate at the Oklahoma County jail, officials have officially banned a nurse from seeing any more inmates. Their reason: the nurse, 67-year-old Linda Herlong Jackson, reportedly began conducting an exorcism rather than helping to restrain the combative inmate.
Jackson, a resident of Oklahoma City working for the jail's medical provider, Armor Correctional Health Services, denied the allegation though detention officers have testified that the nurse clearly stated, "I revoke you demons" while the inmate was screaming and thrashing. Another witness reported that Jackson asked first if anyone mind if she conducted the exorcism. The ritual was interrupted by the arrival of a sheriff's lieutenant on the scene who then took charge.
The deceased inmate, 32-year-old Annette Lynette Freeman, had been arrested for methamphetamine possession and began experiencing seizure-like activity in her cell on February 10. Though Jackson was supposed to get the inmate's vital signs, she had difficulty due to the thrashing and reportedly conducted the exorcism instead. Detention officers were eventually able to restrain the inmate and move her to the jail's medical floor where she died the next day. An autopsy determined that she died of a coronary event linked to methamphetamine use.
Agents with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation interviewed Jackson after the inmate's death. Though she denied conducting an exorcism, she did state in a phone interview with local media that the deceased inmate had supernatural strength. She also emphasized that the patient didn't die on her shift and that she was an excellent nurse who like her job and was liked by the inmates at the jail where she had been working for six years. Describing her nursing work as "a form of serving God," she insisted that the allegations arose because her supervisor had been trying to have her fired.
In explaining the decision to ban the nurse from the jail, incoming Sheriff P.D. Taylor insisted that the exorcism incident proved that she wasn't fit to work with inmates. "Her job is to provide medical care," he said. "Doing what she was doing was not providing medical care." An investigator from the sheriff's department is set to meet with District Attorney David Prater about the incident and whether criminal charges should be laid if the inmate death was due to a delay in medical attention.