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Allegations of neglect at Denver’s jail after 71-year-old inmate dies

Two days before Leroy Taylor, 71, died in Denver’s downtown jail, his attorneys begged a judge for his early release because he was struggling to recover from COVID, according to court documents obtained by 9Wants to Know.

Taylor’s cellmate and family also told 9NEWS he was repeatedly denied medical care in the days leading up to his death on Feb. 9.

Court paperwork filed on Feb. 7 paints a picture of an inmate who was suffering with COVID symptoms. However, a judge never ruled on the emergency motion seeking an early medical release.

Taylor’s sentence for a probation violation stemming from a 2015 domestic violence case would have ended on Feb. 24, according to court records.

“He sounded very sick,” said Sandra Manlove, Taylor’s sister, who talked to him from jail two days before he died. “It was hard to understand him, because of his throat. He said he was having difficulty breathing.”

When 9Wants to Know started asking questions the day after Taylor’s death, Daria Serna, spokeswoman for the Denver Sheriff Department, said in an emailed statement that he’d been “discovered non-responsive in a housing unit by deputies.”

“The inmate was not being monitored for COVID-19 symptoms,” Serna wrote Feb. 10 in response to questions raised by 9Wants to Know.

But Taylor’s cellmate in the downtown detention center told 9Wants to Know he was trying to get Taylor help throughout the last night of his life.

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