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AUSTIN — The mother of a man who killed himself while in the Llano County Jail filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit Nov. 8 against the county, two jailers and Sheriff Bill Blackburn.

Shirley Appell filed the civil action on behalf of son Shawn Michael Appell, a 45-year-old Air Force veteran who killed himself Aug. 6, 2011, while in custody at the jail. According to a Travis County Medical Examiner’s report, the death was ruled a suicide.

In July, a Llano County grand jury indicted two jailers — Scottie Scoggins and Donny Stewart —in connection with the case.

The grand jury indicted Scoggins on a first-degree charge of injury to a disabled by omission, according to court records.

Stewart is indicted on the same charge, but as a second-degree felony.

Trial is pending. Both men are also named in the federal civil suit.

In the lawsuit filed in the United States District Court-Western District of Texas, Austin Division, Shirley Appell claims, “Defendants allowed Shawn to kill himself when they did not intervene while he beat his head against a cell wall for two days. He died of blunt force trauma to his head.”

According to the lawsuit, Stewart, who was the jail administrator at the time of the death, “was in the jail while Shawn was slowly killing himself, was aware of it, and deliberately did nothing to stop him.”

The lawsuit makes a similar claim against Scoggins, who was a jail sergeant at the time, and Blackburn.

In a custodial death report field with the state Attorney General’s Office, authorities reported jailers transported Shawn Appell to the hospital after he was found banging his head against the cell wall Aug. 5, 2011.

Attempts to get him into a state mental facility failed and he was returned to the county jail.

According to the report, Appell was placed under special five-minute watch while jail officials continued to try and find him a spot in a mental-health facility. But eventually at 5:30 p.m Aug. 6, jailers found him lying on the floor and not breathing. EMS was called, but Appell was dead, the report stated.

In the federal lawsuit, Appell’s mother claims the jailers didn’t do their job after returning her son to the cell following the initial hospital visit.

“After deputies returned Shawn to a cell, he resumed beating his head against the wall. Both inmates and jail staff, including Defendants Stewart and Scoggins, knew Shawn was seriously injuring himself. The Llano County Jail is small (its maximum capacity is only 54 prisoners). The noise reverberated through the building,” the lawsuit states.

Shirley Appell is seeking unspecified punitive and other damages, according to the suit.

daniel@thepicayune.com