Report: Levert denied anxiety meds in jail

Nov. 11, 2008 at 1:53 PM
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CLEVELAND, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- R&B singer Sean Levert wasn't allowed to take his anxiety medication at Ohio's Cuyahoga County Jail in the days leading up to his death, investigators said.

The 39-year-old son of O'Jays lead singer Eddie Levert was sentenced to 22 months in jail for owing more than $90,000 in back child support.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported Sean Levert, a former singer with the group LeVert, brought a bottle of prescribed Xanax with him when he entered the jail March 24. However, prison staff allegedly took the bottle away and didn't give him his medication during the six days he was there, even though he asked for it numerous times and suffered terrifying delusions due to withdrawal from the medication.

The Plain Dealer noted Ohio law states that jails have up to two weeks to get new inmates medically evaluated.

Jail staff reportedly strapped Levert into a restraint chair March 30 to prevent him from injuring himself as he emotionally fought his hallucinations, but the singer stopped breathing a short time later and attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.

The newspaper said Levert's death was ruled the result of complications of sarcoidosis, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and withdrawal from Xanax and investigators reviewing the case determined no laws were broken.

A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday in a wrongful death lawsuit brought by Levert's widow against Cuyahoga County officials and corrections officers.

Two years ago, singer Gerald Levert, Sean's brother, died from a combination of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, at age 40.

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