Zwillinger Wulkan Files Notice of Claim With Maricopa County for Wrongful Death
After Yet Another Inmate is Brutally Murdered in its Care
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Lawyers at Zwillinger Wulkan, who represent the family of Steven Lemus, have filed a Notice of Claim with Maricopa County. The notice, which is a precursor to a lawsuit, demands $5 million to resolve claims arising from Steven’s death.
Steven was beaten, strangled, and stabbed in the eye by his cellmate, Michael Schroeder. Schroeder told detention officers and mental health staff that he was going to hurt someone, but they didn’t listen.
Steven was placed in a cell with Schroeder at the Fourth Avenue Jail on March 29, 2022. During the week prior, Schroeder had assaulted detention officers. He had also created weapons using items to which he had access in his cell, and he had demonstrated the use of those weapons to both detention officers and mental health staff. His behavior was so troubling that twice he was sent to the Lower Buckeye Jail’s Mental Health Unit for evaluation, but both times he was returned to the Fourth Avenue Jail.
Schroeder had been housed alone all week, but even though one detention officer later described Schroeder as being “one of those guys you . . . look at and you’re just like, it’s better he’s behind the cell,” detention officers placed Steven in with him, where Steven was a sitting duck. Less than 24 hours later, Schroeder murdered Steven, using the very weapons he had told the detention officers about.
Even worse, Schroeder called the control tower using a button in his cell before murdering Steven, and he explicitly told staff to “get somebody in here” because he was “going to fuck this guy up.” Schroeder’s warning went unheeded, and eight minutes later, Schroeder called again and uttered four chilling words: “Come get the body.”
Steven was found horribly brutalized. He died days later having never regained consciousness, leaving behind his mother and two minor children.
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