Inmate seeking medical release
Suspect wounded in lethal incident wants better care
A Clifton man who was shot in an armed confrontation that left a pregnant woman dead earlier this month has asked to be released from jail while his case is pending to seek better medical care, saying nursing staff hurt him when they tried to pull out surgical staples with a pair of scissors.
Joseph Anthony Manzanarez Jr., 34, is accused of wielding but not firing an assault rifle in a Nov. 6 face-off with Alexander Fedak, 28, and his common-law wife, Shandie Case, 25. Authorities believe Fedak, who along with his wife was in a truck, was trying to drive away while firing at Manzanarez when he inadvertently shot and killed Case.
Manzanarez was also shot in the abdomen during the incident, and was treated at the hospital before being released to the jail with metal staples securing the incision in his chest, his attorney wrote in a motion filed in court last week asking for District Judge Lance Timbreza to modify Manzanarez’s current $100,000 cash-only bond in order to seek medical care.
Defense attorney Bill Richardson said nursing staff at the jail decided to try to remove the staples Nov. 22, according to Manzanarez’s account to Richardson.
“The staff apparently was unable to locate an appropriate medical tool for the removal of the staples, and then proceeded to attempt the removal using a pair of scissors,” Richardson wrote in the motion, which was filed the next day. “During the process, the scissors snapped around and left the staple protruding from Mr. Manzanarez’s chest.”
After the “failed attempt” to remove the staples, the staff redressed the wound, Richardson wrote.
“However, it appears the nursing staff did not have access to appropriate medical bandaging and the staff instead used a trimmed sanitary napkin ordinarily provided to women inmates,” the motion said.
Richardson said in court Monday that, since he made his original request, Manzanarez has been seen by a doctor who removed the staples from his chest.
However, Richardson said Manzanarez is still not receiving adequate prescription pain medication, and isn’t able to keep his wound clean.
“It’s a significant wound and he’s in a great deal of pain,” Richardson told Timbreza.
Timbreza set a hearing for Friday to give Richardson time to collect evidence to back up Manzanarez’s story about the medical care he received from nursing staff, who are employed by Tennessee-based contractor Correct Care Solutions.
Mesa County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Megan Terlecky would not comment on or verify the situation Monday, saying that the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act prevents her from commenting on an inmate’s health or medical treatment. She wrote in an email that any questions about standards of care or procedures should be directed to Correct Care Solutions.
Correct Care Solutions spokesman Jim Cheney wrote in an email that he can’t comment on specific cases with court decisions pending.
“I can say that as a company, our employees are trained medical professionals and the level of care we uphold meets and/or exceeds national accreditation standards,” Cheney wrote in an email.
Meanwhile, Fedak, who has been charged with criminally negligent homicide, also remains in custody on a high cash bond, and is due to return to court Dec. 12. Fedak told law enforcement that he initially thought Manzanarez had shot and killed his wife, and that he became suicidal after realizing she was dead, according to arresting documents.
Fedak and Case were following Manzanarez and Mesa County resident Jordan Shaw apparently to settle a dispute about a truck that Shaw had rented from the couple using the short-term car rental app Turo, earlier reports said.
While different people told law enforcement different stories, it seems that Fedak rammed the truck occupied by Shaw and Manzanarez before both vehicles stopped. When Manzanarez emerged from the truck, allegedly wielding an AK-47, Fedak opened fire, according to earlier reports.
Manzanarez, who as a felon was restrained from guns, faces felony charges of menacing and possession of a weapon by a previous offender. He told law enforcement that he didn’t know who Fedak and Case were; Shaw had told him she had bought a repossessed truck and that the other couple might be its original owners, arresting documents said. Shaw — who allegedly owned the assault rifle and other guns that investigators found in the truck — has not been arrested.
Case was six months pregnant with her and Fedak’s first child when she died.