A county jail nurse in Oklahoma faces possible criminal charges for allegedly performing an exorcism on an inmate and delaying medical help for the woman.
Jail employees reported that in the February incident Linda Herlong Jackson, 67, said, “I revoke you demons,” as the female inmate thrashed about and screamed.
The inmate died the next day.
On Oct. 20, Oklahoma County Sheriff P.D. Taylor told the jail’s medical provider, Armor Correctional Health Services, that Jackson, their employee, is banned from the jail, where she worked for more than six years.
“It’s our position that because of this incident she cannot work in this facility,” the sheriff said, according to The Oklahoman in Oklahoma City.
“Her job is to provide medical care. Doing what she was doing was not providing medical care.”
In an interview with the Oklahoman, Jackson denied the incident. “Oh, brother,” she said. “No. ... I didn’t do an exorcism.”
She described herself as an excellent nurse and called her nursing work “a form of serving God.”
“The patient didn’t die, by the way, on my shift,” she told the newspaper. “I would appreciate if you wouldn’t try to sensationalize something that’s already been settled — or so I thought.”
According to the Oklahoman, the inmate, 32-year-old Amanda Lynette Freeman, of Allen, Okla., was arrested Feb. 7 after she jumped out of a moving car. Police found methamphetamine in her purse.
Three days later, around 5:15 a.m., detention officers and Jackson responded to Freeman’s cell because she was having what looked like a seizure, the sheriff’s investigator reported. Freeman was reportedly under medical observation after her arrest.
Jackson couldn’t take the woman’s vital signs because she was moving around too much. She reportedly later described Freeman as having supernatural strength.
One witness reported Jackson asked whether anyone would mind if she performed an exorcism, during which she said, “I revoke you, demons,” according to the Tulsa World.
A sheriff’s lieutenant stopped the exorcism when he arrived on the scene, the sheriff’s investigator reported.
Detention officers were eventually able to restraint Freeman and take her to the jail’s medical floor. She was found unresponsive in her cell at 4:50 a.m. the next day and died a short time later. An autopsy determined she died of an acute coronary event to methamphetamine use, the Oklahoman reported.
The sheriff’s investigator was scheduled to meet with the district attorney on Monday about possible criminal charges against Jackson for delaying getting the inmate medical attention.