This is Carol, Roger's wife. An inmate committed suicide recently in the cell block where Legal Schnauzer author Roger Shuler has been unlawfully incarcerated since Oct. 23 at the Shelby County Jail. Steven Ray Dismuke climbed atop a two-story stack of cell units and jumped backwards off of them, landing on a concrete floor some 27 feet below. Dismuke died on Thursday, Dec. 12, at a Birmingham area hospital. The incident has been reported as an inmate death that is under investigation, but multiple inmates witnessed the event and it clearly was a suicide.
Dismuke appeared to be in his mid to late forties and lived in Jakin, GA, across the state line from Dothan, AL. He was traveling from his home to the work site in Illinois when he was arrested in Shelby County about 10 days prior to his death.
Dismuke was bleeding heavily from his ears and from a wound on the back of his head as jail personnel administered lifesaving measures and inmates were ushered into an outside recreation area. A physician in the inmate population was by Dismuke's side within seconds after he landed.
"It was perhaps the most traumatic event I've ever experienced," Shuler said. "Steve landed just outside my cell unit off the ground floor, about 10 feet from where I was resting on my bunk. I will never forget the sound of his skull hitting the concrete. It sounded like a gunshot or if a small bomb had been detonated."
Shuler said many of the inmates had gotten to know Dismuke and found him to be soft-spoken and likable. "I spoke extensively with Steve about events leading to his arrest," Shuler said."Inmates know that I write a blog about justice issues and Steve sought me out to tell me about what had happened to him. He seemed to be in fairly good spirits, but he also had reason to be upset about how he had been treated by the deputies who arrested him."
Dismuke reportedly worked for a company that helps restore power after storm outages.
"Based on what Steve told me, Shelby County deputies took some dubious actions that lead to his arrest," Shuler said. "Also inmates told me that Steve had serious health issues that apparently that did not receive proper attention from jail personnel. My impression is this suicide definitely was avoidable and it's a real tragedy that Steve Dismuke is no longer with us."
Shuler has been housed in the Shelby County Jail since Oct. 23 based on a lawsuit by Republican political figure Rob Riley who seeks to have certain posts removed related to lobbyist Liberty Duke. Law dating some 230 years to the early days of the country say that such prior restraint on publication is unlawful, but Shuler has been held in civil contempt for failing to remove the items even though there's been no discovery in the case and no final judgment that the material is false and defamatory. Shuler has spent his birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas in jail and has been now incarcerated for more than two months.
Here is the obituary for Steven Ray Dismuke: Steven Ray Dismuke Obituary