On July 30, 2010, three inmates in custody of the State of Arizona Department of Corrections and a private prison contractor, Management & Training Corporation (hereinafter “MTC”), escaped from the Arizona State Prison in Kingman, Arizona. Due to extensive and egregious security errors, caused by a lack of supervision, a lack of proper policy, a lack of proper security and/or failed policies and procedures, the inmates completely avoided detection by prison security, escaped, and eluded captors for several weeks. During the period of time they remained outside captivity, two of the inmates kidnapped and brutally murdered a couple traveling in New Mexico, Gary and Linda Haas.
August 2, 2010, marks the anniversary of the deaths of Gary and Linda Haas. The lives of the family of Gary and Linda Haas have been torn apart by this horrific tragedy. Vivian Haas, Gary’s mother, was devastated. Cathy Byus, the couple’s only child, continues to grieve the loss of both of her parents, who were in the prime of their lives and anxiously awaiting the birth of their first grandchild at the time of their murders. James Byus, who was born on December 1, 2010, will never know his grandparents except through photographs. Linda is also survived by her mother, Lovie Perkins. The family’s lawsuit alleges that the reckless indifference and negligence of MTC and the State of Arizona robbed them of their joyful lives together. The litigation is ongoing.
On September 1, 2010, Vivian Hass filed a lawsuit against MTC in Maricopa County Superior Court for the wrongful death of her son, Gary Haas. As a result of the murder of her son, Vivian forever lost the relationship with her son, as well as the love, care, comfort and companionship of her son, Gary Haas. Vivian has suffered and will forever suffer emotional damages and grief. Vivian also has suffered and will continue to suffer financially as a result of the murder of Gary.
On September 2, 2010, Vivian Haas has also served a Notice of Claim on the State of Arizona, The Arizona Department of Corrections and Charles Ryan as Director of the Arizona Department of Corrections. These entities had non-delegable duties to the people of Arizona and elsewhere, to properly maintain and oversee facilities for the custody and detention of convicted, violent criminals. The governmental entities breached their duties owed to the citizens of Arizona and elsewhere, by failing to adequately train and monitor the Arizona State Prison Complex in Kingman, AZ. The direct result was a lax inmate classification system, and a prison complex fraught with failed or broken security policies and procedures. Through the combination of these errors, the subject inmates’ escape was entirely foreseeable, and the consequence of their actions to avoid detection also foreseeable. Vivian and Cathy continue to pay for these errors, the cost being the life of Gary Haas.
Court documents show that numerous other deficiencies were also identified by the State in a series of investigations that occurred after the escape. MTC is now looking to expand its operations in Arizona by adding additional private prison beds. The families of Gary and Linda Haas have filed lawsuits in Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix, Arizona to seek justice against MTC and the State of Arizona for the wrongful and totally preventable deaths of their loved ones.
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