Jail: Murder suspect with Size 16 feet files a $2,000 claim against the county. It says he is ‘suffering chills’ because officials have not given him footwear — (Los Angeles Times)

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Los Angeles Times

By HUGO MARTIN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
September 07, 1991

Accused murderer Louis Gary filed a new claim against Ventura County on Friday, alleging that he has suffered in the County Jail because officials have not provided shoes and socks for his Size 16 feet.

Gary, who has filed several other claims against the county, asks for $2,000 in damages. A claim is required before a lawsuit can be filed against a government agency.

“I am suffering chills because I have no shoes & socks,” his claim says.

Gary, who was arrested in February on suspicion of killing his roommate, could not be reached for comment. But his attorney, Louis Milton Signer, said Gary has complained to him about problems with his shoes and about jail food.

Signer said Gary once accidentally broke his toe in jail because he had no shoes to wear.

The manager of a Ventura shoe store that specializes in extra-large shoes said it is nearly impossible to find Size 16 shoes. “Maybe you can find them in L.A. but not here,” he said. He said the largest shoes he sells are Size 13.

Gary, 42, is accused of strangling 26-year-old Najat Chehade in mid-December and dumping her body beside California 33 near Ojai. He has pleaded not guilty and is being held in lieu of $1-million bail. His trial is set for next month.

Signer said that part of Gary’s defense will be that his emotional state was dramatically altered by anti-depression medication before his roommate’s death.

“This guy is a pussycat,” said his attorney.

Signer said part of Gary’s problem is that he is 6 feet, 8 inches tall and requires a special no-sugar diet. “There are a lot of things he can’t eat,” he said.

In August, Gary filed two claims. In one he asked for $896.12, alleging that he lost 40 pounds because the jail kitchen refused to prepare special food as prescribed by a doctor. Gary weighs 220 pounds, according to Department of Motor Vehicles records.

In a second claim, he asked for $2,500, saying jailers have refused to allow him outdoors due to his bouts of depression.

Gary filed two claims Friday. One alleges a lack of proper footwear and another asks for $2.80 because jailers confiscated razor blades from prisoners after a recent brawl and he now has to buy his own.

Sheriff’s Cmdr. Robert Brooks, who oversees jail operations, said he did not know about Gary’s claims and could not comment specifically about them. But Brooks said he knows that Gary has never filed a complaint with jail officials about shoes or food.

Brooks said the jail has a small number of inmates who file a large number of grievances. “We have some individuals who have an awful lot of time on their hands,” he said.