Nurse pleads not guilty to negligent homicide in diabetic inmate’s death


A nurse accused of negligent homicide in the death of a 20-year-old diabetic who died July 1 in her cell at the Bi-State jail entered a not guilty plea Tuesday.

Brittany Johnson, 26, stood with Texarkana attorney Jeff Harrelson in a courtroom at the Miller County Correctional Facility. At a hearing before Circuit Judge Brent Haltom, Harrelson entered a plea of not guilty. Haltom scheduled Johnson to return to court Oct. 4 for a pretrial hearing.

If convicted of negligent homicide in Morgan Angerbauer’s death, Johnson faces up to a year in the county jail and could be fined up to $2,500. Johnson allegedly refused to check Angerbauer’s blood sugar the night before she died of ketoacidosis in her cell at the Bi-State, according to a probable cause affidavit. An autopsy performed on Angerbauer revealed a blood sugar level of 813, far above normal.

According to the affidavit, Johnson flatly refused to check Angerbauer’s sugar even though blood sugar readings for her had been consistently high since she was booked into jail the afternoon of Aug. 28. Angerbauer reportedly refused a medical check at about 4:30 p.m. June 30 when a different nurse was on duty. When Johnson walked by her cell at approximately 5 p.m., Angerbauer allegedly asked to have her sugar checked.

Johnson allegedly told investigators she told Angerbauer that “it doesn’t work that way,” and refused to treat her. Angerbauer allegedly banged on the door of her cell in the medical observation area for hours. At about 4 a.m., Angerbauer was found in an unresponsive state in her cell. Johnson allegedly told investigators she was getting error readings on the jail’s glucose monitor and treated Angerbauer by giving her glucose, or sugar.

A wrongful death lawsuit filed Sept. 9 in federal court by Angerbauer’s parents alleges that the readings on the jail’s monitor actually indicated that their daughter’s sugar level was dangerously high and that the glucose Johnson gave her caused it to rise even higher.

Johnson is free on bond.

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