A diabetic amputee died in a California jail hours after he was arrested Saturday for a homicide that never happened.
Oakland police arrested 65-year-old Melvin Stubbs after they found his wife dead and the home the couple shared in disarray, reported the San Jose Mercury News.
Officers said the apartment’s condition indicated a violent struggle, and they said 58-year-old Terry Cameron’s body showed signs of trauma and Stubbs had scratches on his arms and hands.
Stubbs admitted to fighting with his wife shortly before she died, saying she had been acting strange before she had died about two days earlier, leaving the ill man unable to care for himself.
Police arrested Stubbs in his wife’s death and took him to jail — where he, too, died the following day.
An autopsy revealed Monday that Cameron had died from acute bacterial meningitis.
Stubbs’ family is outraged, saying he should never have been arrested in the first place.
“What they did to him was horrible,” said Manuel Primas, his former brother-in-law from a previous marriage. “His last thought must’ve been, ‘My wife just died and I’m in here for murder.’ And then he died. That’s a hell of a way to go.”
Police defended the arrest, saying Cameron was found with a pillow over her face and apparent defensive wounds similar to her husband’s.
“The evidence was there,” said Lt. Roland Holmgren, of Oakland police. “There was more than enough reasonable suspicion.”
It’s not yet clear how Stubbs died, but family members said he had been in ill health in recent years.
“He was an amputee, and he couldn’t even walk,” Primas said. “I guess you could say he was an invalid. I can’t believe that you can just grab a man in a wheelchair and arrest him without evidence.”
He stayed in a hospital overnight after his arrest and was taken Sunday morning to Santa Rita jail, where medical workers refused to accept him because his blood sugar was elevated.
Stubbs was taken to the hospital for another checkup and then returned to jail, where he was found unresponsive about two hours later in the medical wing and later pronounced dead.
“Maybe it’s not murder, but they killed him,” Primas said. “How you going to drag a man out of a house, find her dead, and blame him for it? If a man kills his wife, that means he’s going to try to leave.”