Skip navigation
× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.

Correctional Medical Services Pays Out Another $1 Million in 1997 Ohio Escape, Murder

The family of Charles Dials, who was carjacked and killed by prisoner Alva Campbell during an escape attempt in April 1997, was awarded a $1 million default judgment against CMS in Franklin County (OH) Common Pleas Court on March 6, 2002. This verdict comes after CMS and Franklin County have paid $2 million in awards to the Dials family and the guard who was escorting Campbell, Teresa Harrison. [ PLN , June 2002]

On April 2, 1997, Alva Campbell was being escorted to a court appearance in a wheelchair by guard Teresa Harrison. Campbell was in the wheelchair because CMS doctors employed by the Franklin County jail had diagnosed him with psychosomatic paralysis. Harrison had not handcuffed Campbell because she thought he was a paraplegic. Campbell then jumped out of his wheelchair en route to the courthouse, overpowered Harrison, took her gun, and then commandeered Dials' pickup. Campbell later shot and killed the 18-year-old Dials.

The Dials' family said that with one phone call, CMS doctors could have found out that Campbell was faking his paralysis. Instead, CMS Dr. Vincent Spagna diagnosed Campbell with the paralysis and ordered further tests to make sure. Those tests were never done.

Had Spagna checked with Mount Carmel West Hospital, the Dials' family alleged, he would have found out that there was no medical reason for Campbell to be paralyzed. The hospital had treated Campbell for a gunshot wound when a store manager had shot him during a robbery attempt. The surgeon in that case, Scott O. Johnson, said that Campbell did not suffer any paralysis causing injuries. However, CMS simply took Campbell's word that he was paralyzed.

Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Richard S. Sheward entered the default judgment in favor of Dials' family. "This was a 1998 case and Correctional Medical dragged its feet and ignored orders to comply so I gave a default to the plaintiff," Sheward said. "It wasn't a complicated case, but it was a case of a wrongful death of a person who was executed," he added. Campbell, who was sentenced to more than 80 years for his original robbery charges, is now on death row for killing Dials.

Source: Columbus Dispatch

As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.

Subscribe today

Already a subscriber? Login

Related legal case

Case Name Unknown