Death of man suffering medical issues at county jail under investigation

Inside the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

A man who was hospitalized while in custody at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center has died, triggering a police investigation.

Todd Matthew Gleason, 51, died Tuesday morning (July 4) just hours after a magistrate approved his release, according to the Fairfax County Police Department. He was taken to a hospital from the jail on Monday after telling sheriff’s deputies that he had “pain to his stomach and leg,” police said.

Gleason sustained injuries after being hit by a car, an incident that occurred before his arrest, according to the Fairfax County Office of the Public Defender, which was representing him.

Gleason was arrested on June 17 for a petit larceny that allegedly occurred on June 15, according to Fairfax County General District Court records. Mount Vernon District patrol officers also served him a warrant for failure to appear on a felony offense, the FCPD said Wednesday.

“There was no force used during Gleason’s arrest,” the department said. “Following his arrest, Gleason requested to be taken to the hospital for a preexisting injury. Officers facilitated his request, and he was medically cleared by hospital staff the same day.”

However, Gleason was still experiencing medical issues from his injuries while in custody at the Adult Detention Center, the public defender’s office says.

“Mr. Gleason continued to have medical issues from those injuries during his incarceration,” Fairfax Public Defender Dawn Butorac said by email. “He advised his attorneys of such and it is my understanding that he also advised the jail staff as well. It appears that his complaints were not taken seriously until July 3rd.”

That morning, the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office requested an ambulance to take Gleason back to the hospital, according to the police.

Police say a magistrate granted Gleason a release on recognizance at 9:22 pm on Monday, July 3, a date confirmed to FFXnow by a General District Court clerk.

“Any medical complaints are taken seriously and fully addressed by our medical team,” Casey Lingan, general counsel for the sheriff’s office, said.

Noting that the county jail “is nationally accredited by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care,” Lingan said the office can’t provide any information about medical care given to individuals in the facility, citing confidentiality laws under HIPAA and the Code of Federal Regulations.

An autopsy to determine the manner and cause of Gleason’s death is being conducted by Northern Virginia’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The final results could take 12 or more weeks, depending on the complexity of the case, according to the office.

Fairfax County court records show a string of previous charges against Gleason, dating back to Oct. 24, 2020. It’s unclear whether any of them resulted in convictions.

The charges are mostly misdemeanors, including multiple petit larcenies, trespassing, public intoxication and failures to appear in court. There are two felony drug possession charges, most recently for an April 8 offense, and one felony for wearing a mask.

Gleason had been scheduled for an adjudicatory hearing on Sept. 14.

The Fairfax County Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney said it had no comment on the case at this time, but called Gleason’s death “a tragedy.”

No other deaths have been reported at the county jail this year, but three people died while incarcerated last year.

That includes 65-year-old George Redmond and 55-year-old Kyung Pil Chang, who died within two days of each other in late March 2022. Glenn Meyer, who was charged in a Pimmit Hills shooting in 2020, died last July after a medical emergency, police said at the time.

Read more on FFXnow…

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