Douglas County Grand Jury returns no indictments in 17 in-custody deaths

A police officer is cleared by a grand jury in the death of an Omaha man
Published: Mar. 11, 2022 at 10:21 AM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A Grand Jury found no indication of crimes committed in 17 in-custody deaths that occurred in Douglas County.

According to a Friday news release from the Douglas County District Court, the Grand Jury convened Tuesday and complete its review on Thursday, returning a “no true bill” report in the matters of Thomas Headley, Mark Buda, Pah Leh, David Farley, Nigel Phillips, Victor Harman, Phillip Teplitsky, Trent Toline, Robert Condon, Eric Liao, Joshua Schmitt, Cesar Robledo, Robert Camacho, Jason Porter, Jose Cruz, Deven Telford, and Cody Wilbourn.

The determination means “the Grand Jury determined that there was not probable cause to believe that a crime had been committed in connection with the deaths of any of these individuals,” the release states.

  • Thomas Headley shot at officers, then took his own life in June 2021, according to Omaha Police records filed by officers responding to a domestic disturbance at an apartment complex. Headley was wearing a tactical vest, armed, and was acting aggressive and intoxicated, reports state.
  • Mark Buda held a gun to his chest during a May 2021 incident at Seventh and Leavenworth streets, according to OPD reports. While a police crisis negotiator was in touch, Buda shot himself, reports state.
  • Pah Leh was found unresponsive in his Douglas County Jail cell in March 2021, and lifesaving efforts failed. He was jailed on charges of terroristic threats and use of a weapon to commit a felony.
  • Nigel Phillips armed himself and ran from a June 2021 crash at 34th Street and Laurel Avenue. Police formed a perimeter for the chase, witnessing him running through houses. Phillips took his own life after police gave verbal demands to drop his weapon, police reports state.
  • Victor Harman was found unresponsive in his Douglas County Jail cell in June 2021, and lifesaving measures failed. Harman was serving a 30-day sentence for his second DUI and second offense of driving with a revoked license, records state.
  • In February 2020, Douglas County Jail inmate Phillip Teplitsky was rushed to a hospital after a medical condition became life-threatening. He was in jail for violating the sex offender registry, records state.
  • Trent Toline was found unresponsive in his jail cell in March 2020, and later died at a hospital. Toline had been in jail for violating probation, records state.
  • Eric Liao died after an incident in a bowling alley in September 2021. Records show Omaha Police responded to the disturbance, finding an employee restraining Liao on the ground while being combative and biting people. He was handcuffed and became unresponsive, records show. CPR was performed, but he later died.
  • Community Corrections Center-Omaha inmate Robert Camacho died in October 2021 died at the facility. Camacho had been serving a 15-20 year sentence for arson in Douglas County.
  • Jason Porter was found unresponsive in his cell in October 2021 and died two days later. He had been in jail, charged with seven counts of sexual assault of a child and one count of child abuse.
  • Jose Cruz was an inmate at Douglas County Jail who was being treated for a medical condition at a hospital when he died in September 2020. Cruz was serving a 14-24 year sentence on a drug conviction.
  • Police called in May 2021 to a home near 41st and F streets encountered Deven Telford, who was reportedly suicidal, upset about personal issues, and drinking excessively. Officers fired about nine shots in the home, according to police records, and Telford left his house, still firing his gun. Police fired back, killing him, records state.
  • Cody Wilbourn was being held at Omaha Correctional Center on a sentence of up to 18 years for multiple convictions, including burglary and assault of an officer. Wilbourn died at a hospital.

No case information was immediately available for David Farley, Robert Condon, Joshua Schmitt, and Cesar Robledo.

Nebraska law requires that a Grand Jury investigate any death that occurs in the custody of law enforcement or while law enforcement are attempting to apprehend the person.

Assistant News Director Cassie Crowe contributed to this report.

Copyright 2022 WOWT. All rights reserved.