Our own Detective Dave investigates a shockingly violent attack on two guards in a small town jail. It’s a case that brings into sharp focus the risks that law enforcement officers take every day to keep others, and themselves, safe.
The Detective: Detective DaveRead Transcript
Dave: [00:00:02] You see her disappear just for a moment, and then you see your start to back up. And when she backs up, she pulls out her taser, and it’s clear she tries to use it to no avail. You can see her start to retreat back into the side hallway. And right on her heels, he’s on a rampage. She’s in a fight for her life.
Yeardley: [00:00:24] Hi, there. I’m Yeardley.
Dan: [00:00:26] I’m Dan.
Dave: [00:00:27] And I’m Dave.
Yeardley: [00:00:28] And this is Small Town Dicks.
Dan: [00:00:31] Dave and I are identical twins, and we’re retired detectives from small town USA.
Dave: [00:00:35] Together, we’ve investigated thousands of cases. From petty theft to sex crimes, from child abuse, to murder.
Dan: [00:00:42] Every case on our podcast is told by the detective who investigated it, offering a rare personal account of how they broke the case.
Dave: [00:00:49] Names, places, and certain details, including relationships have been altered to protect the privacy of the victims and their families.
Dan: [00:00:56] And although we’re aware that some of our listeners may be familiar with these cases, we ask you to please join us in continuing to protect the true identities of those involved, out of respect for what they’ve been through.
In Unison: [00:01:07] Thank you.[Small Town Dicks theme playing]
Yeardley: [00:01:20] Today, on Small Town Dicks, we have the usual suspects. We have Detective Dave.
Dave: [00:01:26] Good morning.
Yeardley: [00:01:27] Good morning. So good to see you.
Dave: [00:01:30] It’s great to be back.
Yeardley: [00:01:32] And we have Detective Dan.
Dan: [00:01:34] Hello there.
Yeardley: [00:01:36] Hello, you. Small Town Fam, I’m so very excited to let you know that today’s case comes from our one and only, Detective Dave. Dave, we can’t get enough of you. More you is always better. More Dan, also always better.
Dave: [00:01:55] Hey, careful what you ask for.
Yeardley: [00:01:56] [laughs] I would like that wish to come true.
Dave: [00:02:00] Mm-hmm.
Yeardley: [00:02:01] All right. So, tell us how this case came to you.
Dave: [00:02:05] This case is from several years ago. I was a detective at the time and had replaced one of our other detectives on an interagency team of detectives, the deadly force investigation team, where we are charged with investigating uses of force by the police. Anytime a person contacted by the police is injured seriously during the course of that interaction with the police due to the use of force, this team gets activated. And it’s two or three detectives from each agency within our county.
[00:02:44] This activation of our investigation team was the first activation since my appointment to the team. I was like, “Well, I don’t know what I’m doing. I guess I’ll just show up and they’ll tell me where to go.” When the call came out, somebody just gave me a heads-up, “Hey, they heard that something had happened in a neighboring agency’s jurisdiction, and that they were calling over the radio to activate our team.” Somebody came back and said, “Hey, Dave, looks like you’re going to be working not in our city today.”
[00:03:18] The drive to this jurisdiction is about an hour. I didn’t have much detail while going over there. All I understood was an inmate had been involved with some sort of a fight with jail officers and had died as a result of this fight. When I got to this jail, I’d say 90% of our team was already there. So, the guys from our county team, which is Carl, Chad, Steve, Greg, another Dave, as if we need more Daves. [Yeardley giggles] I walked into this jail, and it’s like your first day at school.
Yeardley: [00:04:03] [laughs]
Dan: [00:04:04] I think we should explain what this jail is. It is a municipal jail for this small town. It’s about an hour from where we work. They have their own municipal court. Their municipal court can order people who have violated city ordinances to serve time in their jail. So, they don’t have to send them to the county jail, which is near where Dave and I worked.
Yeardley: [00:04:26] How big is this little jail?
Dave: [00:04:28] This little jail has about 12 to 15 cells. It’s small. As I walked into the jail, I’m thinking, my first time with the team, kind of want to get the rhythm and see how it feels. And I see Carl and Andy, the two folks in charge of our investigation team, and I’m like, “Hey, guys.” They said, “Welcome to the team.” I was like, “What do you need me to do?” And they said, “Well, we want to talk to you about that.” And I go, “Okay.” And Carl and Andy said, “You’re going to be the case agent on this case.” And I was like, “For today, on the job.”[laughter]
Yeardley: [00:05:12] So, that means you’re the leader of this investigation?
Dave: [00:05:14] Right.
Yeardley: [00:05:15] Okay. [laughs]
Dan: [00:05:17] I’ve had training for this stuff, but he doesn’t even know where they keep the pens in the office. There’s been no orientation, they didn’t have everyone stand up in a room and give 30 seconds on their background. None of that. He’s shown up and they’re like, “Yeah. Well, off you go.”
Dave: [00:05:37] But the core of this is investigation’s an investigation. You just do your job. And that’s what I had to remind myself.
Yeardley: [00:05:44] Sure.
Dave: [00:05:45] Andy and Carl, tell me, this inmate, his name is Boggs. Boggs was booked in several days prior for acting erratically, kind of being disorderly and generally causing some alarm around this jurisdiction’s downtown corridor, to the point that he got called in multiple times. He was being aggravating towards people, kind of aggressive. And I believe there was some alcohol on board. So, Boggs is taken into custody and lodged at this municipal jail. From moment one, Boggs is a problem. The hope is that somebody at some point will start coming down from that, and rest.
Yeardley: [00:06:27] Sobriety, like if it is alcohol-induced behavior, that maybe as he sobers up, he’ll sort of chill out.
Dave: [00:06:35] Correct. Over the course of the next couple of days, Boggs is kind of up and down. There’s times where he’s chill. There’s other times where he’s just being the way he was when he was brought in, that he’s disrespectful, confrontational, doesn’t listen to instructions. He’s generally just not a nice guy.
Yeardley: [00:06:56] How old?
Dave: [00:06:56] He’s in his 40s.
Yeardley: [00:06:58] Does he have a home?
Dave: [00:06:59] Boggs is not homeless, he has a home. He’s from a different state and had some issues in that state to the point that, I think, family recognized that he was a little bit more than they can handle. At some point, Boggs moves to our state and finds this nice quiet little tourist community.
Yeardley: [00:07:20] Got it.
Dave: [00:07:21] This jail has very, very basic staffing. They have one full-time jail officer who is in the facility the entire time. In this case, we have a female officer, Officer Jones. She is the full-time jail officer there. She’s got some military history. She has been there for a few years. And this department utilizes their patrol personnel and their detectives and command staff to assist and complement this one officer. So, you have this aspect where an officer’s coming off the street, and they do the rounds with the full-time jail officer. It’s ingrained in the police officers to secure your weapons.
Yeardley: [00:08:10] Put them away so that an inmate can’t grab them?
Dave: [00:08:13] Right, because we know that the jail is a sterile area. There are no weapons allowed. When I book someone into a jail, I take my magazines, my ammunition, my knives, everything goes into a little locker that only I get the key to. It’s just pounded into your head. It’s like muscle memory. When you come through that door, you access the locker and you put all your toys away. And so, a few days after Boggs has been launched at the jail, Officer Jones has some serious concerns about Boggs’s mental health. She petitions her command staff to get Boggs released so he can get out and find some help for his mental health issues. Command staff, trusting Officer Jones’s judgment, said, “We agree,” and they say once you get him ready to get released.
[00:09:13] So really, we only have four law enforcement officers working this municipality at the moment that Boggs is going to be released. We have Officer Jones. Officer Jones summons help. Patrol officer shows up, Officer Leonard. And there are two other enforcement officers working in the city at that moment. There’s Commander Edwards and then Sergeant Michael. Now, releasing someone from jail is typically a joyous occasion.
Yeardley: [00:09:43] Should be the easy part, right?
Dave: [00:09:45] Right. The person’s looking forward to getting out.
Yeardley: [00:09:48] Now, is he being released into custody to go somewhere else, or he’s just being released?
Dave: [00:09:53] He’s just going to be released. We can’t force that type of medical attention on him. We can make it available to him.
Yeardley: [00:10:02] So, you could say, “You’re getting out today. By the way, there are these facilities that are open to you should you decide that you want to go.”
Dave: [00:10:09] Absolutely. And we’ve driven inmates to a hospital. Our policy is if someone expresses a desire to get some medical attention and they’re in my custody, we’re going to make it available to you. Officer Jones, shown some compassion. Officer Leonard, just there to help Officer Jones. And Officer Leonard goes to Boggs’s cell. This is on closed circuit television inside the jail. There’s no audio, but we have video of the events that happen. Typically, in the more modern jails, you can have a command center that looks out the spokes of the wheel. So, you can see down corridors, you can see everything. There aren’t blind spots. But in this municipal jail, there’s a long hallway that extends from the booking counter area where an inmate would initially get booked in, off of that hallway is kind of a– I’ll call it a side street, side hallway that comes to a T, and there’s an additional three or four cells on that T. So, if you’re in the booking area, and you look down this hallway, once the person makes the right turn and takes that side hallway-
Yeardley: [00:11:25] You can’t see them.
Dave: [00:11:26] -you can’t see anything, and Boggs’ cell is on the short leg of the L, just out of sight of the camera. Within a few feet, you’re back in view, but for a moment, five to seven feet, you’re off camera. Officer Leonard, as he approaches Boggs’ cell, he looks in the window and he sees his cell is completely trashed, like food everywhere, Boggs is naked. He’s got a towel on, and Officer Leonard’s kind of like, “Hey, we’re going to be releasing you. Time to get ready to go.” And I’m certain Officer Leonard’s like, “He’s going to be happy to get out of here.” You can see in the video when Officer Leonard opens the door, and there was a pause from when Officer Leonard kind of disappears off camera. Like I said, you can see the hinges of the door and the doorframe.
[00:12:20] When Officer Leonard opens Boggs’ door, you actually see light come through from the small window that’s in that cell, so you can actually see the door open, and you can see shadows in this small crack of the door of the space between the hinges and the doorframe. Officer Leonard opens Boggs’ door, confronts him about, “Hey, your cell’s a mess. We’re trying to release you. We need you to get this all cleaned up.” And Boggs attacks him. So, you see kind of this flurry of activity of shadows on video. Boggs goes right after Officer Leonard and the fight is on. And Officer Leonard is able to yell for help. On the camera, you see Officer Jones come running down this long hallway, taking a turn onto the side hallway and coming up to Boggs’s cell. You never see Officer Leonard after that door opens.
Yeardley: [00:13:18] Oh.
Dave: [00:13:32] So, we’ve got a rapidly evolving situation. Boggs is, like I said, 40s, large man, probably about 5’10”, 5’11” but weighed about 260. He’s just a stocky, thick-framed, large man, and he’s just wearing a towel around his waist. Officer Leonard is overwhelmed by Boggs. Boggs punches him, and then Boggs gets on top of him and starts strangling him. Officer Jones comes running down the hallway, turns the corner into the side hallway and then towards Boggs’ cell. You see her disappear just for a moment, and then you see your start to backup. When she backs up, she pulls out her taser. Officer Jones approaches again and goes off camera just momentarily and it’s clear she’s got her taser pointed out towards Boggs and tries to use it to no avail. You can see her start to retreat back into the side hallway, and right on her heels is Boggs. And Officer Leonard’s incapacitated. Now, Officer Jones, she’s by herself with Boggs.
Dan: [00:14:48] I’m kind of curious, did she think that Officer Leonard was dead at that point?
Dave: [00:14:54] I don’t think that Officer Jones had the ability to make that determination because I’m sure as she looked into the cell and then looked up, Boggs is right on top of her.
Yeardley: [00:15:04] So, she didn’t have like even a nanosecond to assess.
Dave: [00:15:07] It’s so quick.
Yeardley: [00:15:08] Yeah. “Officer is down, and now this guy’s coming after me.”
Dave: [00:15:12] Right. Boggs, he’s on a rampage. Officer Jones starts to retreat back to the long hallway, and Boggs gets his hands on Officer Jones. She’s in a fight for her life. Boggs has his arms around her upper body, and he rams her headfirst into the cinderblock wall.
Yeardley: [00:15:31] [gasps] Oh, my God.
Dave: [00:15:33] She falls down. Boggs is immediately on top of her and assaulting her. Officer Jones’ head is in the side hallway, but her feet are kicked out into the main hallway. So, you can’t see above her shoulders on camera, but cut to another camera angle, that’s right above her area is pointed more towards the back of that hallway. So, you can see Boggs standing over Officer Jones, but you can’t see her on the ground. And you can clearly see Boggs stomping on her. And he’s not stomping on her chest. He’s stomping on her head.
Yeardley: [00:16:08] Oh, my God.
Dave: [00:16:10] You can see the last stomp on her head because you see Boggs raise up and then once his feet come smashing down, and you can see Officer Jones’ left leg come up like a reaction to being stomped.
Yeardley: [00:16:26] Like a reflex.
Dave: [00:16:28] It was like a reflex. Boggs, once he’s incapacitated Officer Jones, he goes to return to his cell to where Officer Leonard is. Officer Jones recognizes, “Here’s a moment. I need to gather myself and I’ve got to save myself.”
Yeardley: [00:16:45] She’s still conscious?
Dave: [00:16:47] She is out of it, but she’s conscious enough to get to her feet. She gathers her taser, which has been kind of yard sailed in this long hallway, gathers her taser and begins running back towards the booking counter. And you can see Boggs leaving his cell and realizing Officer Jones is no longer where I left her. And he’s mad. And now he’s not wearing his towel anymore. He is commando.
Yeardley: [00:17:14] Okay.
Dave: [00:17:16] He’s got nothing on. And he is sprinting down the hallway, just a few steps behind Officer Jones. Officer Jones enters the booking area, and she’s attempting to call for help to the neighboring building, their jail is connected to their police station. So, it’s really just a series of doors you have to go through to get from one side to the other. She’s able to call for help. So, it’s Sergeant Michael and Commander Edwards in the police building, and they respond over to the jail booking area to assist.
Yeardley: [00:17:48] Is sheable to get the door to the booking area closed behind her so Boggs can’t reach her?
Dave: [00:17:53] There’s no door.
Yeardley: [00:17:54] Oh.
Dave: [00:17:55] It’s like a kitchen counter or a receptionist desk. So, Boggs was on Officer Jones’ heels to the point that once she was inside that booking area, she only had a second or two before he’s right back on top of her. It takes some time to get through the secure corridors for Sergeant Michael, Commander Edwards to come to the rescue.
Dan: [00:18:17] A lot of times when you fight with people, they’re fighting to get away from you. It’s very different when they’re not trying to disengage. They’re pursuing you.
Yeardley: [00:18:28] So, you’re saying they’re usually fighting to get you off them so they can run away?
Dan: [00:18:32] Yes.
Yeardley: [00:18:33] But in this case, Boggs’ intention is the complete opposite, “I’m here to end you.”
Dave: [00:18:39] Exactly. It’s important to note that right at this L in the big, long hallway and the side hallway. There are other inmates in their cells watching this happen through their windows of their doors.
Yeardley: [00:18:51] Are they amped up or–?
Dave: [00:18:53] They are very amped up, and they all have call buttons in their cells. And they’re all pounding on these things like, “Help.”
Yeardley: [00:19:00] Like, “This is not good.”
Dave: [00:19:02] Right. It’s not like they’re rooting on Boggs. They’re terrified that Officer Jones and Officer Leonard are being killed right in front of them. And we have the recordings of my interviews with these inmates that witness the attack.
Inmate 1: [00:19:17] I heard him open the cell, and then I heard thump-thump. So, I got to my window. He was like leaning forward like this, and pushing the guy. He was coming out butt naked, pulling the towel [unintelligible [00:19:27] and then she drew back. [unintelligible [00:19:32] my view for a second and then all of a sudden, he come with her in a headlock and [unintelligible [00:19:34] hitting the wall.
Dave: [00:19:35] Head first?
Inmate 1: [00:19:36] Yeah, head first into the wall. As soon as I see him attacking her, I hit the button and called for help.
Inmate 2: [00:19:43] I went to the window and looked out and I saw right there the corner with blood and stuff. That’s where I saw the dude, he was butt naked. She’s on her back and he was smashing her head on the floor like this about five times. He beat her senseless, with the smashing on the head and then– just horrible.
Dave: [00:19:59] Andyou saw this through your–
Inmate 2: [00:20:01] Through the window, right. She was just like– she’s out. [crosstalk] -and he’s butt naked.
Dave: [00:20:06] So, he stomped on her head with bare feet?
Inmate 2: [00:20:08] Yeah.
Dave: [00:20:08] But did he stomp on her head with purpose? Or, did he stop on her head like a love tap?
Inmate 2: [00:20:12] No, it looked like he’s trying to kill her. He looked like he’s trying to smash her head.
Inmate 3: [00:20:17] When I saw him, walk back to the guard and stomp on her, I kind of motioned into the camera, like, “Hey, there’s something going on and–“[crosstalk]
Dave: [00:20:26] -help up here. Okay.
Yeardley: [00:20:29] When the inmates are pushing their emergency buttons, did Commander Edwards and Sergeant Michael start to come when they got those signals from the inmates? Or, did they wait until they heard from Officer Jones?
Dave: [00:20:44] The call button that these inmates were hitting only goes to the booking counter area.
Yeardley: [00:20:50] Oh, my God.
Dave: [00:20:51] So, you’ve got one person incapacitated, and the other one’s in a fight.
Yeardley: [00:20:55] There’s nobody there to get the call.
Dave: [00:20:58] Right. So, when Officer Jones is able to kind of break free and sprint to the booking area, she’s able to let dispatch know, “I need cover right now.”
Yeardley: [00:21:06] But she only had about a second before Boggs was on her.
Dave: [00:21:10] It was just long enough to get the message out. And then, you have Sergeant Michael and Commander Edwards who are right next door come sprinting over. As Sergeant Michael and Commander Edwards come through the secure corridor, thinking, “We’re just going into a jail. We know there’s been a call for help. And we’re not bringing guns into this jail.” And so, they stow their guns, so they secure their guns within moments. They turn the corner to get into this booking area. And Sergeant Michael and a Commander Edwards see Boggs with his right arm extended out to the side holding up Officer Jones by her hair. She is limp, covered in blood, and it’s clear she is incapacitated, and he is continuously punching her.
[00:22:03] Commander Edwards has a taser and Sergeant Michael sees Officer Jones’ taser on the floor and grabs it. Officer Jones’ taser does not have a cartridge on it anymore, because she’s already fired at once. And that taser activation either missed, or she only got one dart on target. Tasers, you have to have two darts for it to work because it’s a circuit. So, if you miss one dart, you’re SOL, it’s basically you just shot somebody with a little fishing hook. That’s totally useless.
[00:22:34] When Boggs sees Commander Edwards and Sergeant Michael approaching him, he drops Officer Jones, and the fight is on, which takes two or three minutes of fighting before they’re able to get him secured with a set of handcuffs. And then, they put a set of leg irons on his ankles. It’s just off camera where they’re taking him into custody. And eventually you see Officer Jones leave the counter area and she grabs a seat on a bench. It’s clear she’s completely exhausted.
Yeardley: [00:23:10] So, she’s ambulatory. She can walk around?
Dave: [00:23:13] She’s a warrior. Officer Jones does not mess around.
Yeardley: [00:23:17] Yeah. Okay.
Dave: [00:23:19] At that point, once Boggs is in custody, Edwards and Michael, they turn their attention to Officer Jones. And they actually tell Officer Jones, “Hey, let’s get ahold of Officer Leonard and have him respond to the jail to help us gather what’s happened here.” And she’s like, “Officer Leonard is here. He’s in the back. And I haven’t seen him since he went to let Boggs out of his cell.”
Yeardley: [00:23:46] Oh, dear.
Dave: [00:23:47] So, Officer Jones goes down the hallway to Boggs’ cell and she finds Officer Leonard on the floor. He’s just coming to. And so, Officer Jones and Officer Leonard returned to the booking area. Sergeant Michael turns his attention back to Boggs and notices his breathing is starting to shallow out. And he’s like, “We need to get some medics here.” Sergeant Michael summons paramedics and soon sees that Boggs has stopped breathing. He’s not moving. Sergeant Michael immediately starts chest compressions trying to revive Boggs. They’re able to get a pulse on Boggs. Boggs is transported to the hospital, and he was dead on arrival.
Dave: [00:24:52] They’ve got two seriously injured officers and they don’t know why Boggs has died. So now, they involve our deadly force investigation team. They have an in-custody death that occurred during a fight with the police, and they bring in our team to avoid any conflicts of interest when you have an agency that’s investigating itself, basically.
Yeardley: [00:25:13] That makes sense.
Dave: [00:25:15] So, I show up at this jail thinking, “This is my first time on the team. I’m going to watch and learn.” And they let me know that this is going to be my investigation, I’m on the lead on it.
Yeardley: [00:25:28] How do you go about that?
Dave: [00:25:31] I treat it like any other death investigation. When I go into death investigation, it’s a murder until I prove that it’s not. Our team did all the evidence collection, taser cartridges, taser probes, they have these little AFIDs that come out, they have serial numbers on them. So, you can associate that with the taser cartridge that was activated. And we have to evaluate the security camera footage. See if we’ve got dead spots, see if we’ve got audio. We have to interview every witness, anybody who was in that facility that day or had any interactions with Boggs or could provide any sort of comment on how Boggs was acting, how the jail staff was treating him. I think there were four or five inmates in custody that day, and each of them was interviewed.
Dave: [00:26:25] So, you physically saw him stomp on her face?
Inmate: [00:26:27] Yeah, I did.
Dave: [00:26:29] Did you hear any taser activations?
Inmate: [00:26:31] Yeah.
Dave: [00:26:31] Okay. You think they’re justified in doing that?
Inmate: [00:26:34] Yeah.
Dave: [00:26:35] Okay. Like this guy’s–
Inmate: [00:26:36] No, he– I was surprised that it wasn’t anything escalated beyond the tasing.
Dave: [00:26:42] Uh, higher use of force?
Inmate: [00:26:43] Yeah.
Dave: [00:26:44] Okay.
Inmate 2: [00:26:45] AndI started punching my door. I said, “Get off of her,” because I was trying to get his attention–[crosstalk]
Dave: [00:26:49] Yeah. What was his demeanor throughout this?
Inmate 2: [00:26:54] Just violent.
Dave: [00:26:55] I want to know how’s his jail operate, and how do these particular officers, how do they treat people. I want to know was the jail staff being demeaning and poking the bear basically, and now this guy’s like, “Here’s my chance,” or were they nice? Everything is described to me as that Officer Jones is very respectful. She has a cheery and jovial effect. She treats people with respect. She’s very nice.
Yeardley: [00:27:24] And these are the other inmates saying this?
Dave: [00:27:26] Right. These are other inmates saying, “Oh, she’s totally cool. She’s nice to everybody.” Boggs was a pain in the ass the whole time he was here, and made my stay miserable. Everyone was tired of Boggs’s antics.
Yeardley: [00:27:40] Right.
Inmate 2: [00:27:41] Like last night, he was slamming and punching doors and stuff before I went to bed. Since he’s been here [onomatopoeia] saying and I heard him, I believe threaten [beep] this morning.
Inmate 3: [00:27:54] And then he’s been just wailing and moaning and staying up all night and screaming and stuff like that ever since. Been very disruptive ever since. And then, this morning when they brought around breakfast, I didn’t see it, but I heard him. The cop gave him the breakfast and then he threw it against the wall or something like that.
Dave: [00:28:12] Just being generally for the last few days, just uncooperative.
Inmate 3: [00:28:16] Just real belligerent. Yeah.
Dave: [00:28:17] Okay. What are these two officers that are involved this morning, what’s their demeanor like with you guys?
Inmate 4: [00:28:22] They are so professional. They’re awesome. I mean, they’re just real respectful, real polite, real courteous. Everybody here is super professional, very courteous.
Dave: [00:28:31] Okay. Did you see or hear anything this morning, that would have sounded like they were trying to provoke this guy?
Inmate 4 [00:28:38] No, no, not at all.
Dave: [00:28:39] The female officer [beep] what’s her demeanor like, is she?
Inmate: 4 [00:28:44] She’s a nice person, the jailer. She’s always been fair and polite, never been rude or never been rude to me at all.
Dave: [00:28:54] All the witnesses had complimentary things to say about both Officer Jones and Officer Leonard and in general, about the way they were treated at that facility. These officers are professionals and they’re just doing their job and they’re not making it personal. So, that eliminates that concern that I’ve got an officer who’s trying to bait somebody who’s in custody into a fight. It gives me a better understanding of what Officer Leonard encountered when he opened that cell door and Boggs came after him. I’m certain that Officer Leonard was surprised that this person would attack him when it was clear he was being released from custody.
Yeardley: [00:29:37] Yeah.
Dave: [00:29:37] And so, now we have to interview Officer Jones and Officer Leonard, which Officer Jones and Officer Leonard are also transported to the hospital. And they’re in bad shape, beaten, bloodied, bruised. Officer Leonard got severely strangled. I mean, I’ve seen that type of strangling, where I’ve seen the symptoms of that type of strangling on dead bodies. I’ve not seen it on living folks, in my personal experience in law enforcement. That’s how severe this strangulation was. Officer Leonard’s eyes, the sclerae of his eyes, is all blood.
Yeardley: [00:30:18] Is that the white part of your eye?
Dave: [00:30:19] Yeah. All the blood vessels in his eyes have burst. [Yeardley gasps] He was strangled to that degree.
Yeardley: [00:30:26] Oh, my God.
Dave: [00:30:28] I mean, this isn’t like, “I’m just putting you in a sleeper hold.” This is attempted murder.
Dan: [00:30:35] If you think about that kind of hemorrhaging in the sclerae, in the eyes, and the fact that he was unconscious for minutes, he was on the doorstep of death. Who knows, if Boggs continued strangling him for another maybe even 10 seconds, he might be dead.
Dave: [00:30:55] One of our detectives from our team went to the hospital to take photos of Boggs. So, we have those photos and then the following day, Boggs is given a full autopsy. Prior to the autopsy, Boggs is given a full body scan by a CT machine, basically, I want to see any broken bones. Any internal injuries that would explain why he’s now dead. Nothing.
Yeardley: [00:31:22] No broken bones.
Dave: [00:31:23] He’s got no broken bones, no internal hemorrhaging, nothing that would lead the medical examiner to say, “Oh, I have a cause of death here.” So, the autopsy, I was present for that and going through my reports, I see that I made some notes during this autopsy. These notes are descriptive and basically right from the medical examiner’s mouth. A blood smear on the sole of Boggs’s left foot doesn’t correspond to any nearby injury, probably not his blood. Blood not corresponding to any nearby injury on his left big toe. Probably not his blood. Blood smear on his right knee and lower thigh, not his blood. Possible taser probe injury to upper right chest, another possible taser probe injury to upper left shoulder. At this autopsy, I do remember that I recovered a taser probe and an AFID that was stuck to Boggs’ body. These AFIDs are about half the size of a hole punch.
Yeardley: [00:32:30] What’s an AFID?
Dan: [00:32:32] When you pull the trigger on the taser, these doors on this cartridge blow off. And the two darts come out, and along with it come these AFIDs. There are hundreds.
Dave: [00:32:43] It’s like confetti.
Dan: [00:32:44] Yeah, it looks like confetti coming out when you shoot a taser but it’s no party.[laughter]
Dave: [00:32:51] Amen, it is no party. So, he has two taser probe injuries, but they’re not from the same taser activation. One is from the first taser activation from Officer Jones. The other one is from another taser activation by Commander Edwards. Those don’t work in concert with each other, because you’ve got to get both darts on.
Yeardley: [00:33:12] So, because neither officer was able to get both darts into Boggs, that taser activation was completely ineffective?
Dave: [00:33:20] Totally ineffective. I mean, those are superficial. It’s like a bee sting.
Dan: [00:33:23] Yeah. And that all lines up with data from the actual taser. So, you can actually download the time the taser was deployed, the duration. Typically, it’s five seconds. It documents all those deployments.
Yeardley: [00:33:38] Like a little black box.
Dan: [00:33:39] Every trigger pull.
Dave: [00:33:40] It’s exactly what it is. So, the doctor finds significant coronary artery disease, he finds an enlarged heart. But there’s a lack of trauma to the skull in the brain. There’s a lack of any breaks to bones in the body. There’s a lack of internal bleeding, and there’s no injury to the airway. One more note, lack of any obvious bruising or injuries to the face, head or scalp of Boggs. Significant findings. And I remember watching that going the only use of force that was used on Boggs is basically two officers fighting with him to get him in handcuffs. All the other force in that event is Boggs using it on police officers.
Yeardley: [00:34:46] Was the medical examiner ever able to determine what the cause of death was?
Dave: [00:34:51] We’ve talked about it before. When you’re in a fight for 45 seconds, it feels like 45 minutes. When Boggs is in the middle of this episode, you think about from the moment that he attacks Officer Leonard to the point that he finally is in handcuffs and leg restraints, we’re talking several minutes. And his body with his coronary artery disease and an enlarged heart, I imagine, was unable to negotiate that type of activity over that course of several minutes. Basically, I think he had a heart attack.
Yeardley: [00:35:33] Right. Also, it’s not like he decided to go on a sprint. There’s a massive amount of adrenaline and cortisol being dumped into his body so that the heart would probably not take kindly to that.
Dave: [00:35:47] These are not normal circumstances for Boggs’ heart or body to be undergoing. This is extreme exertion. This is what we see in law enforcement is like excited delirium, where your body’s just so amped up, and you’re running hot and fast. Your body heat goes up, your respirations go up, your body basically just can’t keep up. Commander Edwards and Sergeant Michael, once they get Boggs into custody, their attention turns to Officer Jones and Officer Leonard. In just that short amount of time, Boggs has a medical event, and Sergeant Michael’s right on top of it.
Yeardley: [00:36:31] Right. Doing the chest compressions.
Dave: [00:36:33] He does chest compressions. He simultaneously has medics summoned to the facility. He works on Boggs, and the medics then take over, and they reestablish a pulse. That’s significant to me, especially given the circumstances. Also, it exhibits the professionalism of the people in this agency. Even after this guy’s tried to kill two of your officers, they still were trying to save his life.
[00:37:06] I’ve been swung on, I’ve been hit, I’ve been kicked, I’ve been spit on. When you’re in a fight, it’s hard to come off that and then go, “You know what? How can I take care of you, sir?” But that’s what they did. That’s a big deal to me. This is a big-time emotional event for everybody involved here. I interviewed both the officers that were assaulted, as well as Commander Edwards and Sergeant Michael. In speaking with Officer Jones, she recalls the moment that Officer Leonard called for help, and she notes that it was the sound of his voice, the urgency, and clear distress. Officer Jones worked with him for a year or so, said, “I’ve never heard that sense of urgency in his voice before.” She knows it’s a critical event.
[00:38:04] I remember speaking with Sergeant Michael and Commander Edwards and said, “What was the first thought entering your mind when you turned the corner and came into that booking area and saw what you saw?” Both of them told me that had they had their guns and seen what they encountered with Boggs holding up Officer Jones’ limp body, by the hair, covered in blood and still assaulting her, that they considered it a deadly force situation. And if they had had their guns and had they not been stowed, that that would have been an option for them to use. But all they had was their hands and a taser. So, it gives you a little bit of insight into, this could have easily been a deadly force situation.
Yeardley: [00:38:55] Where the police caused the death of this man?
Dave: [00:38:57] Absolutely. I’m there to see if the police used force, and if that use of force resulted in someone’s death. And the answer to that is no, the police did not use deadly force, and I don’t believe the police caused Boggs’ death. I do a summary for the district attorney. I submit my reports, my findings, the facts to the district attorney and they make a determination on whether or not it’s a justified use of force. In this case, our district attorney said, “Well, they didn’t even use force. There’s no deadly force used here. No. The police are not responsible for this man’s death.” This is a physiological event that took Boggs’ life, and no officers are charged. So, really my first deadly force investigation was not a deadly force investigation. It was an attempted murder investigation.
Yeardley: [00:39:59] Dave, what is the takeaway from this case for you?
Dave: [00:40:05] The takeaway for me is it was a good introduction to investigating police use of force and in-custody deaths, and it was a great learning experience. I’m glad my first case happened to be an in-custody death that had nothing to do with a police use of force.
Yeardley: [00:40:26] Right. What would you say to Officer Johnson, Officer Leonard?
Dave: [00:40:32] Pretty impressed to stay in the fight. I’ve not been in that situation before that Officer Jones and Officer Lennar found themselves in.
Yeardley: [00:40:41] Where somebody was fighting you to the death?
Dave: [00:40:44] Literally trying to kill you. I’ve not been in a fight like that. I’ve been in some fights, not to that degree. I admire the way that agency handled this.
Yeardley: [00:40:58] Thank you both so much. It’s a terrible story.
Dave: [00:41:03] It is.
Yeardley: [00:41:05] I’m so glad that you all have each other, but I’m especially glad that you and Dave have each other.
Dan: [00:41:14] Likewise.
Dave: [00:41:15] I’ve been looking forward to talking about this case for a few years. Hope I did it justice.
Yeardley: [00:41:21] I think you did. I appreciate it.
Dave: [00:41:24] Thank you.
Yeardley: [00:41:25] Thank you.
Dan: [00:41:26] Thanks, Dave.[music]
Yeardley: [00:41:31] Small Town Dicks is produced by Gary Scott and Yeardley Smith, and coproduced by Detectives Dan and Dave. This episode was edited by Logan Heftel, Gary Scott, and me, Yeardley Smith. Our associate producers are Erin Gaynor and the Real Nick Smitty. Our music is composed by John Forest. Our editors extraordinaire are Logan Heftel and Soren Begin, with additional editing assistance from Jacqui Fulton. Our books are cooked and cats wrangled by Ben Cornwell.
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Dave: [00:43:00] So, thanks for listening small town fam.
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