Arlington jailers plead guilty in inmate death case

Image 1 of 2

Two former Arlington Police Department jailers accepted plea deals Monday after being indicted for the death of an inmate in 2015.

Jonathan Paul was arrested in March of 2015 after a traffic stop. The 42-year-old was restrained and pepper sprayed because of his erratic behavior, and then moved to another cell and left on the floor. He died four days later.

According to court documents, jailers Pedro Medina and Steven Schmidt caused his death "by physically restraining Paul in a position that interfered with his breathing.” Both jailers were fired after being indicted for criminally negligent homicide

The charge against Medina was reduced to assault with bodily injury as part of his plea deal. The charge against Schmidt was also reduced to official oppression.

“After considering all the evidence and the circumstances of these cases and talking with the family of Jonathan Paul, this agreement was determined to be the best response to the level of personal involvement of these defendants,” the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement. “Both defendants will have to strictly uphold the conditions imposed by the court in order to successfully complete their sentences. We are hopeful their accountability for their roles in this tragedy will bring some measure of closure for the Paul family.”

The former jailers each face up to a year in prison for the Class A misdemeanors. A judge will impose both sentences on Tuesday.

Paul’s family filed a lawsuit against the city of Arlington last year and ended up settling for $1.25 million.