David Ragsdale

PROVO — The blue jail outfit hangs looser on David Ragsdale, who family members say has lost 30 pounds because he can't get his medicines in jail.

A noticeably thinner Ragsdale stood before Judge Claudia Laycock in 4th District Court Monday morning, while his attorney, Greg Skordas, asked for direction about how to solve the medical problems Ragsdale is facing.

"It appears (the jail) is not communicating with his medical doctor," Skordas told Laycock. "He has lost a significant amount of weight because he is sick and can't keep food down."

Ragsdale has been in jail since Jan. 6 when he turned himself into Lehi police after allegedly shooting his wife, Kristy, 10 times at a church parking lot in Lehi.

He now faces an aggravated murder charge and two charges of domestic violence in the presence of a child, because of children in the parking lot who witnessed the shooting.

Monday was set as a preliminary hearing, but both attorneys agreed to continue it until May 27 at 8:30 a.m.

One of the state's key witnesses couldn't come Monday, and Skordas said he was getting new evidence Monday from prosecutors.

Prosecutor Craig Johnson said he is puzzled by Skordas' request to get medications to Ragsdale in jail, referring to comments family members have made that "killer meds" were what caused the problems in the first place.

"If these are the things that impaired him, why should we be prescribing these things to him in the jail?" Johnson asked after the hearing.

Johnson said they have no influence over the jail medication issue and doesn't believe medicines are responsible for what he calls Ragsdale's "premeditated act."

Jail officials are bound by HIPAA — Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act — which means they cannot comment, except to authorized family members, about the health status and history of any inmates.

Utah County Sheriff's Lt. Dennis Harris could not comment on Ragsdale's medication or nonmedication except to say that "he is receiving the appropriate medical care in this facility as well as any other inmate who is incarcerated in the (Utah) County Jail."

In the jail, inmates can request access to two psychiatrists, one physician and a physician's assistant, two licensed clinical social workers and a behavioral sciences nurse, Harris said.

Inmates file a request, which is reviewed by the staff and then they are seen and evaluated. Doctors can then prescribe necessary and appropriate medicines.

"Everybody has a chance to see a doctor if he or she needs," Harris said.

An inmate can allege mistreatment and say anything they want. However, it's slightly frustrating for jail officials because they cannot publicly dispute an allegation, due to the HIPAA restrictions, said Dale Bench, the health services director at the Jail and a registered nurse.

However, Ragsdale's father, Ted, said his son needs medicine to calm his "nervous stomach."

"When he went to prison, all prescriptions were taken away," Ted Ragsdale said. "He's lost a lot of weight. It became a concern for us."

He said his son described the system inside the jail as "passing the buck," and no one seems willing to step up and help him get the medicine he needs.


E-mail: sisraelsen@desnews.com