Pinellas, Citrus jail inmate says AIDS goes untreated

Published Aug. 11, 2015

TAMPA — A Tampa man jailed since May said in a recent court filing that his AIDS is going untreated, and his attorney wrote days ago that the situation is "cruel," "excessive" and "life-threatening."

Kelby McCrillis, 42, was in the privately run Citrus County Detention Center for most of July. But he previously spent seven weeks at the Pinellas County Jail, where he has since been returned.

McCrillis, with a history of methamphetamine possession, was locked up for probation violations and awaits a bed in a federal prison.

"Defendant, as of July 18, 2015, still has not received any medical treatment for this illness," he wrote. "After filing medical grievances with each facility nothing has happened. Defendant needs medical attention and needs it quickly."

It's unclear whether McCrillis has gone without medicine the entire time. The drug isn't named. Jail officials can't discuss his condition because of health care privacy laws.

Representatives for both facilities describe a protocol in which new inmates are asked about medical conditions and prescriptions as part of screening.

"When that information is received, we have to confirm it," said Cecilia Barreda of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. "If they're actively on it and we're able to confirm it, we can start them immediately."

McCrillis wrote that he has been taking the same medicine for 13 years. He described an array of maladies after going off it, including night sweats, increased blood pressure and lymphoid swelling.

He suggested that jails pushed his treatment off on the next facility to avoid incurring costs.

His attorney, Jo Ann Palchak, declined to discuss his current level of care when contacted Monday. In a court paper filed Friday, she wrote, "This interruption of his medication is life-threatening."

She and a prosecutor are expected to appear at a hearing Tuesday before U.S. District Judge James S. Moody Jr.

Moody had ordered McCrillis to serve eight months in federal prison for the probation violation. He tested positive for methamphetamine in May, after completing a four-year sentence in 2009 for possessing and intending to sell the drug. He had also left the region without permission and didn't tell his probation officer about an encounter with law enforcement, records state.

Federal defendants often land in the Pinellas or Citrus jails because the facilities are under contract with the U.S. Marshals Service.