Charge amended to felony manslaughter in diabetic’s death

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Miller County Prosecuting Attorney Stephanie Black amended the charge against a former Bi-State jail nurse from misdemeanor negligent homicide to felony manslaughter Friday.

Brittany Danae Johnson, 27, is accused of causing the July 1, 2016, death of Morgan Angerbauer, a severely diabetic 20-year-old who was jailed for administrative violations of her probation in Miller County. According to a probable cause affidavit and a civil lawsuit, Johnson ignored Angerbauer’s pleas for medical treatment beginning the afternoon of June 30, 2016.

Johnson, a licensed vocational nurse, now faces three to ten years in prison and the possibility of a fine up to $10,000 if found guilty of manslaughter. The misdemeanor negligent homicide charge she was originally charged with was punishable by only a year in the county jail.

Angerbauer asked Johnson to check her blood sugar around 5 p.m. June 30, 2016, but Johnson allegedly refused, telling the young diabetic that, “things don’t work that way,” meaning Johnson would decide when and if the insulin-dependent detainee would receive treatment. Johnson allegedly told a Texarkana, Ark., Police Dept. investigator that she would never get anything done if she treated inmates like Angerbauer when they requested it. Angerbauer allegedly banged for hours on the door of the medical observation cell where she was housed, just 20 feet from the nurse’s station where Johnson worked.

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Earlier blood glucose readings recorded in the jail beginning on the day of Angerbauer’s arrest June 28, 2016, showed consistently high levels. Angerbauer was discovered collapsed on the floor of her cell. After being unable to obtain a numerical reading on the jail’s glucose monitor, Johnson allegedly shoved glucose into Angerbauer’s mouth, raising her sugar level even higher. An autopsy report states that Angerbauer’s blood sugar level was 813 at the time of her death.

Angerbauer’s parents have filed a civil suit in federal court against Johnson, her supervisor and LaSalle Corrections, the company that manages the Bi-State jail.

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