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Stabbed to Death in Sleep, Estate Awarded $850,000

The estate of a prisoner who was stabbed to death while sleeping was awarded $850,000.

Joseph Daniels, a 24-year-old father of two minor children, was confined in a dormitory of a medium-security District of Columbia (DC) prison. A court order required three guards to be present at all times. On the night Daniels was attacked, however, one duty post in the sleeping area was unmanned, and the other two guards were in other areas of the dorm. Another prisoner stabbed Daniels at least five times, puncturing his heart. He died 10-15 minutes later.

Daniels’ estate sued in state court. Defense witnesses “admitted that a guard should have been stationed in the sleeping area.” A jury found for Plaintiff, awarding the estate $850,000. Plaintiff was represented by Douglas Sparks and Geoffrey Allen of Washington. See: Daniels v. DC, No. CA95-8472 (DC Sup. Ct. 2/28/97).

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Related legal case

Daniels v. DC