Family says one indictment not enough in Lubbock State School - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/28/09

Family says one indictment not enough in Lubbock State School homicide

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By Ann Wyatt Little - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The family of a Lubbock State School resident says he died at the hands of a care-giver, while others stood by and watched. Michael Nicholson's death on June 6th was declared a homicide. He was 45 years old.

Four months later, a grand jury indicted 38-year-old Doneil Smith, a former Lubbock State School employee for manslaughter. Now, Nicholson's brother says he doesn't feel like one indictment is sufficient.

Nicholson says his family is pleased with the indictment Tuesday but one simply is not enough. He says there were other employees in the room the day his brother died.

"The behavior was obviously abuse. No one did anything to stop it," says Nicholson about his little brother's death. He says Michael was body-slammed and chocked until he turned blue and that he did not have to die.

The Lubbock County Medical Examiner determined Nicholson was on a bed when someone laid over his upper torso before he became unresponsive.

"My ultimate goal is I want to see those responsible prosecuted," adds Nicholson. On Tuesday, a Lubbock grand jury indicted 38-year-old Doneil Smith for manslaughter. The state-run home fired six employees including Smith for their involvement in Nicholson's death which leaves his brother to wonder why there is only one indictment. "I felt there were two or three other individuals that had been terminated that were responsible for preventing the abuse that led to my brother's homicide," says Nicholson.

His brother called the Lubbock State School home for nearly 30 years. "He was a 2-year-old mentally. He loved recess cups, Dr. Peppers and Christmas and all the holidays just like any other 2-year-old.

Nicholson says he won't give up and would like to see justice for his brother. "The solution to protect the rest of clients that still live in state school is the prosecution of staff or state employees that break the law," he says.

"His life was important to us and to him," adds Nicholson.

A warrant for Smith's arrest has not been issued yet. The District Attorney's office says it cannot comment on the charges or whether or not there will be any more in the future.

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8/21/09

Lubbock State School death ruled as homicide

Friday the final autopsy results were released from the Lubbock County Medical Examiner's Office and indicate a Lubbock State School death as homicide.

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