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Widow of Murdered Maine Prisoner Paid $100,000 Settlement

On February 26, 2014, Janet Weinstein, widow of murdered Maine state prisoner Sheldon Weinstein, was paid $100,000 to settle any claim she had against the State of Maine or Corizon, Inc., the provider of prisoner health care at the Maine State Prison.

Sheldon Weinstein, 64, was in the middle of a two-year sentence at the Maine Correctional Facility for sexual assault of a child when he broke his leg.  Severed diabetes complicated his medical condition so he was transferred to the Maine State Prison, a higher-security facility with greater medical facilities.

On April 20, 2009, other prisoners beat him severely.  Four days later he died from a combination of blunt force trauma, delated rupturing of the spleen and blood in the abdominal cavity.  Soon thereafter,  his widow filed a notice of intent to file suit alleging “policymakers within the Maine Department of Corrections were deliberately indifferent to a culture of inmate violence in which jailhouse justice was meted out to inmates like Mr. Weinstein,” and claimed $1 million in damages.

Two years after the murder, John Thibeault, then a 34 year old prisoner who was imprisoned for robbery, was charged with the manslaughter in Weinstein’s death.  He pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of aggravated assault and received an eight year sentence for which he will serve only nine months in prison with the remainder of the sentence suspended.

Janet Weinstein attended Thibeault’s sentencing calling it a slap on the wrist.  She also expressed frustration in not knowing what happened to her husband during the final days of his life.  State investigators believe additional prisoners were involved in the beating, but only Thibeault was charged.  Sources:  Eric Russel, Settlement Agreement

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