Jimmy Gunn didn't deserve death in jail

1. I was outraged when I read your article about the circumstances of Jimmy Byrd Gunn's death in the Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail. [Wednesday Jan 19, 2011 in issue #1006: "Unhealthy situation? Friends question jailed man's death"]

2. Jimmy Gunn was in vulnerable health and had emphysema and needed an inhaler to function every day. How could anyone deny him the option of house arrest? Why was this decision soley decided by the regional jail? Why didn't Albemarle's Circuit Judge Cheryl Higgins have the authority to make this decision?

3. This man was also denied house arrest because of a prior conviction. Let's wake up, world; this conviction happened over 40 years ago. Isn't there a statute of limitations on how far back in time you can go into someone's record, especially since it was basically a misdemeanor?

4. Mr. Gunn was terrified of going to jail again after 40 years.  He was afraid he might die in jail because of his health problems. This man wanted to live, not die. How can the jail superintendent, Ron Matthews, say that Mr. Gunn was on suicide watch because he tried to harm himself with a plastic fork? That's a feeble, pathetic story.

5. Who was the official who made the decision to deny Mr. Gunn the option of house arrest? Did the decision come from the Superintendent of the Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail, an official with the Jefferson Area Drug Enforcement Task Force, or a combination of different authorities? They should be charged with wrongful death.

6. I never knew Jimmy Byrd Gunn. I'm just a weekly reader of the Hook who loathes injustice and total absence of heart and soul. Some of the other jail deaths over the years should also be revisited in depth.

Elizabeth Ciesel
Fluvanna County