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Four Days…the Slaying of Krista Deluca in the Santa Cruz County Jail
by Dr. Bruce Loisel (dbruceloisel [at] gmail.com)
Thursday Jun 30th, 2016 11:16 AM
A description and analysis of the incarceration and pain she endured in the four days and nights she was held captive by the officials in charge of the Santa Cruz County jail. She was deprived of the medication that, without question, would have ended her agony and saved her life. The limitlessness of her four sleepless days and nights of torture and mayhem, that culminated in her choking on her own vomit and dying, is not easy to imagine.
Four Days…the Slaying of Krista Deluca in the Santa Cruz County Jail

By Dr. D. Bruce Loisel

I do not know much about Krista Deluca. But for those of us that have suffered from addiction, I know enough to write this article. And for those of us who work daily with heroin addicts, I know well enough the indescribable of pain she endured in the four days and nights she was held captive by the officials in charge of the Santa Cruz County jail. I know that she was deprived of the medication that, without question, would have ended her agony and saved her life. The limitlessness of her four sleepless days and nights of torture and mayhem, that culminated in her choking on her own vomit and dying, is not easy to imagine. It is so incomprehensible that it is hard to make a distinction between the savage treatment received by Nazi captives at the hands of Joseph Mengele, and the savage treatment that was received by Krista Deluca at the hands of Santa Cruz jail guards. How could a people claiming to be civilized tolerate her receiving such treatment? By any standard they cannot. Her treatment was not allowable by any civilized standard agreed upon internationally. Not by the Geneva Convention, the requirements of the Hippocratic oath, U.S. laws prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment, the ASPCA, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons, and of course, not by the Humane Slaughter Act of 1958. There is active torture and there is passive torture, she was a victim of passive torture.

And what crime did Krista Deluca commit leading to such punishment? What young boy did Krista Deluca target as vulnerable while in the trusted confessional and sodomize? What terrorist plot did she perpetrate with the hope of wooing Allah or Jesus? What dog did she starve and torture and force into a death duel, the only option to fight or die. According to Sheriff’s department Lieutenant Kelly Kent, Krista Deluca was arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of drugs, drug paraphernalia possession and five warrants that required court appearances. According to Santa Cruz County Jail records, one of Deluca’s previous violations included the heinous crime of bringing a controlled substance into prison. It is vital to note that Krista Deluca’s arrest was the result of non-violent drug related charges. No person or property suffered as a result of Ms. Deluca’s “criminal” behavior.

According to the Santa Cruz Sentinel, she was booked on Friday Sept. 25, 2015 and died on Tuesday September 29, 2016. This lame justification followed; with the same apathetic effort they put into saving her life, jail staff explained why it was just fine that she died, over a four-day period. With the goal of somehow normalizing her torture and the justifying their lack of intervention, and providing but the thinnest of explanations, Lieutenant Kent towed the law enforcement line, “there was no evidence of criminal activity or suspicious circumstances.” A forensic pathologist concluded the cause of death was due to “acute aspiration pneumonia, dehydration, and probable electrolyte imbalance due to protracted vomiting associated with opiate withdrawal." Another law enforcement official, Lt. Bob Payne, made sure it was clear, Krista Deluca was a chronic heroin user, and her cause of death was classified as “natural.” Falling conveniently in line with both Lt. Payne and Lt. Kent, the Coroner’s Unit concluded that correctional officers appropriately followed jail policies and procedures before Deluca died. The party line: Blame Krista Deluca, she was of course an addict, hide behind the canon of the holy of holies, the County jail policies and procedures, and focus on her well chronicled legal troubles. And add in that one of her more egregious offenses was to attempt to bring drugs into the Santa Cruz jail. I find the last bit of information oddly out of place in the Sentinel’s account. Unless the reporters read through her previous arrests, how would they know that? The grotesque spectacle of her unnecessary death required deft manipulation of the public’s perception of Krista Deluca. This information seems to have been proffered by jail staff, and this strategic move served the vital purpose of clarifying to those, who might in a moment of humanity have compassion or outrage for Krista Deluca’s death, that Krista Deluca lived among the expendable class of folks. She was “more trouble than worth.” Law enforcement concluded their actions were fitting and reasonable.


Krista Deluca

The truth, by even the thinnest application of a rationale standard, is that Krista Deluca did not die a “natural” death; she died an unnatural and preventable death. She vomited to death; a lowly life ending in a lowly death. As every muscle in her body uniformly contracted, causing her cramps that made it impossible to hold down food or water, and subjecting her excruciating pain, and in her final exhausted state her airway became so clogged with vomit she could no longer breath, her body finally, and mercifully gave up. Lieutenant Kent kindly assured the investigating reporter, “the sheriff’s first priority in corrections is the safety of incarcerated individuals. We take our responsibilities seriously and will closely review the incident to ensure all procedures and protocols were followed.” According to the internal investigation, her death occurred from acute aspiration pneumonia. Aspiration pneumonia occurs when “inhaled food, drink, vomitus, or saliva into a persons lungs.” Since Ms. Deluca probably wasn’t eating or drinking fluids during her four days of anguish (this is clear due to the coroners stating that a contributing factor to her death was dehydration), it is clear that she died due to inhaling hydrochloric acid, potassium chloride and sodium chloride into her lungs, that is, vomit. In the hours prior to her death she needed to be ventilated due to the fact that vomiting causes esophageal dilation and then collapse. Apparently she was not. Do the county jail protocols and procedures allow for captives to slowly expire without assistance? Medical care that would have saved her life was withheld and that is an indefensible but crucial detail omitted by the Lieutenants.

It is non-sense Krista Deluca died of “natural causes.” Her death was without question barbaric, elongated and totally and unnecessary. Without a hint of self-doubt, I can assure you that it was not “natural.” A death by natural causes, as recorded by the coroners and on the death certificates and associated documents, is one that is primarily attributed to an illness or an internal malfunction of the body not directly influenced by external forces. Ms. Deluca died as a direct result of the persons, “external forces,” that withheld an antidote, jail guards, failing to take any life saving action.

Krista Deluca could have been provided the legal prescription drug methadone, which would have immediately stopped the withdrawal process and saved her life. For those who believe that law breakers should suffer, that prison should be no “cakewalk,” and/or that suffering will serve as a deterrent to future criminal behavior, congratulations your hopes and dreams of a punitive and painful experience would have come to fruition. Allow me to assure you, Ms. Deluca would have suffered greatly. A methadone taper of 2 mg. per day would have been very painful, prolonged and the pound of flesh required by the sadistic and uncivilized would have been rendered. According to reports, it was clear that she desperately needed an IV drip to restore her body fluids and stop the dehydration. We don’t know if she was provided an IV drip, maybe? Finally, when she was on the verge of death, the paramedics were summoned. The cost of the responding paramedics would far exceed the cost of providing methadone to her, which costs less than $11.00 per day, is administered orally and the Santa Cruz jail has plenty of methadone on hand.

According to the Geneva Conventions, persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, color, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria. To this end, the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:
• Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture.
• Taking of hostages.
• Outrages upon dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment.
• The passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.
• The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.

So the County Jail Guards only broke three of the five primary tenants of the Geneva Convention. Prisoners at Guantanamo Bay are treated better than Krista Deluca, contributors to the deaths of American citizens included.

So what are the protocols for inmate safety? Protocols are treated as canon, unquestionable and, when invoked, must be submitted to, without question. It appears that providing a captive with a four day-long sleep, food and drink deprived torturous journey, leading to death, is satisfactory, according to official policies and procedures which were followed. I have no doubt that if any of the Jail guards attempted to intervene on Ms. Deluca’s behalf; they would have surely been reprimanded. Where were the values of compassion, care, love, kindness and maybe most of all gentleness with Ms. Deluca? Did her crimes require this level of retribution, to be tortured in the bowels of a jail cell, dying?
The moral conundrum for the officers entrusted with Krista Deluca’s safety, was that by adhering to the Santa Cruz jail’s policies and procedures, they were required to abandon the just and principled values of care, kindness and compassion. By practicing militant ignorance and creating a distinction between themselves and their capture, they allowed her to die. So what is worse, failing to aid a suffering and dying person or lamely trying to sneak drugs into jail? Thus, in an avalanche of cronyism, invoking the longstanding unspoken understanding that law enforcement turns a blind eye to their own; everyone involved in her death was exonerated.

In a complete failure of consideration, nobody helped Krista Deluca. In the most horrible, painful moments of her passing life, covered in vomit and sweat, dying slowly, she was ignored. Jail guards, indifferent even unto death, too lazy or too stupid to understand how dangerous and excruciating opiate withdrawal can be, did nothing. A good friend of mine, a talented musician and intellectual, who also happens to suffer from heroin addiction, once told me about his experience with trying kick heroin. He described as, “imagine that you are the sickest you’ve ever been in your life, having vomiting and diarrhea at the same time, and your body entire body is cramping, you can’t stop sweating, and you can’t sleep…and every second that passes, it feels like an hour. I only made it two days, after that I started to use heroin again.”

It’s not clear if America will ever move past our bronze-age practice of incarcerating and punishing persons suffering from the disease of addiction. What’s clear is there will be a time when future generations will condescendingly look back on us Americans, just as we look back on the brutality of “witch” burning, leper colonies, the kidnapping and enslaving of Africans, the genocide of Native Americans, and dank insane asylums that provided lobotomies for unfortunates. We’ll be labeled a foolish and simple people in our civics, yet barbaric in our actions, a people incapable or unwilling to operate on the principles of enlightenment, rationale thinking, scientific discovery and reason. This fact should serve notice to the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors. Nobody blames the men who drove nails into Jesus’ hands; the blame is squarely set on Pontius Pilot and the Pharisees. It is the leaders of evil acts in which the future casts judgment, Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Pol Pot, Dick Cheney. Take notice policy makers, by your passive indifference, murderous medieval incarceration will be your legacy. History will not treat you kindly.
I did not know Krista Deluca, but I know she died a horrible and preventable death. I also know that she suffered from addiction, and as such was considered distinct and excluded from “civil society.” Her grave condition was ignored and her death in a dungeon located in the Santa Cruz jail will soon be just another casualty of the war on drugs. Forgotten. Assigned to the care of the Santa Cruz Jail officials, who proudly maintain their “first priority in corrections is the safety of incarcerated individuals,” she departed this life. She died alone, without loved ones to comfort her, to reassure her, to touch her gently. Her final degradation after 96 hours of hell, is that her last remembrance will be of…a cot, metal bars, grey walls and a cement floor. Krista Deluca, beautiful, once alive, is now dead.


A description and analysis of the incarceration and pain she endured in the four days and nights she was held captive by the officials in charge of the Santa Cruz County jail. She was deprived of the medication that, without question, would have ended her agony and saved her life. The limitlessness of her four sleepless days and nights of torture and mayhem, that culminated in her choking on her own vomit and dying, is not easy to imagine.

I do not know much about Krista Deluca. But for those of us that have suffered from addiction, I know enough to write this article. And for those of us who work daily with heroin addicts, I know well enough the indescribable of pain she endured in the four days and nights she was held captive by the officials in charge of the Santa Cruz County jail. I know that she was deprived of the medication that, without question, would have ended her agony and saved her life. The limitlessness of her four sleepless days and nights of torture and mayhem, that culminated in her choking on her own vomit and dying, is not easy to imagine. It is so incomprehensible that it is hard to make a distinction between the savage treatment received by Nazi captives at the hands of Joseph Mengele, [1] and the savage treatment that was received by Krista Deluca at the hands of Santa Cruz jail guards. How could a people claiming to be civilized tolerate her receiving such treatment? By any standard they cannot. Her treatment was not allowable by any civilized standard agreed upon internationally. Not by the Geneva Convention, the requirements of the Hippocratic oath, U.S. laws prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment, the ASPCA, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons, and of course, not by the Humane Slaughter Act of 1958. There is active torture and there is passive torture, she was a victim of passive torture.

And what crime did Krista Deluca commit leading to such punishment? What young boy did Krista Deluca target as vulnerable while in the trusted confessional and sodomize? What terrorist plot did she perpetrate with the hope of wooing Allah or Jesus? What dog did she starve and torture and force into a death duel, the only option to fight or die. According to Sheriff’s department Lieutenant Kelly Kent, Krista Deluca was arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of drugs, drug paraphernalia possession and five warrants that required court appearances. According to Santa Cruz County Jail records, one of Deluca’s previous violations included the heinous crime of bringing a controlled substance into prison. It is vital to note that Krista Deluca’s arrest was the result of non-violent drug related charges. No person or property suffered as a result of Ms. Deluca’s “criminal” behavior.

According to the Santa Cruz Sentinel, she was booked on Friday Sept. 25, 2015 and died on Tuesday September 29, 2016. This lame justification followed; with the same apathetic effort they put into saving her life, jail staff explained why it was just fine that she died, over a four-day period. With the goal of somehow normalizing her torture and the justifying their lack of intervention, and providing but the thinnest of explanations, Lieutenant Kent towed the law enforcement line, “there was no evidence of criminal activity or suspicious circumstances.” A forensic pathologist concluded the cause of death was due to “acute aspiration pneumonia, dehydration, and probable electrolyte imbalance due to protracted vomiting associated with opiate withdrawal." Another law enforcement official, Lt. Bob Payne, made sure it was clear, Krista Deluca was a chronic heroin user, and her cause of death was classified as “natural.” Falling conveniently in line with both Lt. Payne and Lt. Kent, the Coroner’s Unit concluded that correctional officers appropriately followed jail policies and procedures before Deluca died. The party line: Blame Krista Deluca, she was of course an addict, hide behind the canon of the holy of holies, the County jail policies and procedures, and focus on her well chronicled legal troubles. And add in that one of her more egregious offenses was to attempt to bring drugs into the Santa Cruz jail. I find the last bit of information oddly out of place in the Sentinel’s account. Unless the reporters read through her previous arrests, how would they know that? The grotesque spectacle of her unnecessary death required deft manipulation of the public’s perception of Krista Deluca. This information seems to have been proffered by jail staff, and this strategic move served the vital purpose of clarifying to those, who might in a moment of humanity have compassion or outrage for Krista Deluca’s death, that Krista Deluca lived among the expendable class of folks. She was “more trouble than worth.” Law enforcement concluded their actions were fitting and reasonable.

The truth, by even the thinnest application of a rationale standard, is that Krista Deluca did not die a “natural” death; she died an unnatural and preventable death. She vomited to death; a lowly life ending in a lowly death. As every muscle in her body uniformly contracted, causing her cramps that made it impossible to hold down food or water, and subjecting her excruciating pain, and in her final exhausted state her airway became so clogged with vomit she could no longer breath, her body finally, and mercifully gave up. Lieutenant Kent kindly assured the investigating reporter, “the sheriff’s first priority in corrections is the safety of incarcerated individuals. We take our responsibilities seriously and will closely review the incident to ensure all procedures and protocols were followed.” According to the internal investigation, her death occurred from acute aspiration pneumonia. Aspiration pneumonia occurs when “inhaled food, drink, vomitus, or saliva into a persons lungs.” Since Ms. Deluca probably wasn’t eating or drinking fluids during her four days of anguish (this is clear due to the coroners stating that a contributing factor to her death was dehydration), it is clear that she died due to inhaling hydrochloric acid, potassium chloride and sodium chloride into her lungs, that is, vomit. In the hours prior to her death she needed to be ventilated due to the fact that vomiting causes esophageal dilation and then collapse. Apparently she was not. Do the county jail protocols and procedures allow for captives to slowly expire without assistance? Medical care that would have saved her life was withheld and that is an indefensible but crucial detail omitted by the Lieutenants.

It is non-sense Krista Deluca died of “natural causes.” Her death was without question barbaric, elongated and totally and unnecessary. Without a hint of self-doubt, I can assure you that it was not “natural.” A death by natural causes, as recorded by the coroners and on the death certificates and associated documents, is one that is primarily attributed to an illness or an internal malfunction of the body not directly influenced by external forces. Ms. Deluca died as a direct result of the persons, “external forces,” that withheld an antidote, jail guards, failing to take any life saving action.

Krista Deluca could have been provided the legal prescription drug methadone, which would have immediately stopped the withdrawal process and saved her life. For those who believe that law breakers should suffer, that prison should be no “cakewalk,” and/or that suffering will serve as a deterrent to future criminal behavior, congratulations your hopes and dreams of a punitive and painful experience would have come to fruition. Allow me to assure you, Ms. Deluca would have suffered greatly. A methadone taper of 2 mg. per day would have been very painful, prolonged and the pound of flesh required by the sadistic and uncivilized would have been rendered. According to reports, it was clear that she desperately needed an IV drip to restore her body fluids and stop the dehydration. We don’t know if she was provided an IV drip, maybe? Finally, when she was on the verge of death, the paramedics were summoned. The cost of the responding paramedics would far exceed the cost of providing methadone to her, which costs less than $11.00 per day, is administered orally and the Santa Cruz jail has plenty of methadone on hand. [2]

According to the Geneva Conventions, persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, color, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria. To this end, the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:
•Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture.
•Taking of hostages.
•Outrages upon dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment.
•The passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.
•The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.

So the County Jail Guards only broke three of the five primary tenants of the Geneva Convention. Prisoners at Guantanamo Bay are treated better than Krista Deluca, contributors to the deaths of American citizens included.

So what are the protocols for inmate safety? Protocols are treated as canon, unquestionable and, when invoked, must be submitted to, without question. It appears that providing a captive with a four day-long sleep, food and drink deprived torturous journey, leading to death, is satisfactory, according to official policies and procedures which were followed. I have no doubt that if any of the Jail guards attempted to intervene on Ms. Deluca’s behalf; they would have surely been reprimanded. Where were the values of compassion, care, love, kindness and maybe most of all gentleness with Ms. Deluca? Did her crimes require this level of retribution, to be tortured in the bowels of a jail cell, dying?

The moral conundrum for the officers entrusted with Krista Deluca’s safety, was that by adhering to the Santa Cruz jail’s policies and procedures, they were required to abandon the just and principled values of care, kindness and compassion. By practicing militant ignorance and creating a distinction between themselves and their capture, they allowed her to die. So what is worse, failing to aid a suffering and dying person or lamely trying to sneak drugs into jail? Thus, in an avalanche of cronyism, invoking the longstanding unspoken understanding that law enforcement turns a blind eye to their own; everyone involved in her death was exonerated.

In a complete failure of consideration, nobody helped Krista Deluca. In the most horrible, painful moments of her passing life, covered in vomit and sweat, dying slowly, she was ignored. Jail guards, indifferent even unto death, too lazy or too stupid to understand how dangerous and excruciating opiate withdrawal can be, did nothing. A good friend of mine, a talented musician and intellectual, who also happens to suffer from heroin addiction, once told me about his experience with trying kick heroin. He described as, “imagine that you are the sickest you’ve ever been in your life, having vomiting and diarrhea at the same time, and your body entire body is cramping, you can’t stop sweating, and you can’t sleep…and every second that passes, it feels like an hour. I only made it two days, after that I started to use heroin again.”

It’s not clear if America will ever move past our bronze-age practice of incarcerating and punishing persons suffering from the disease of addiction. What’s clear is there will be a time when future generations will condescendingly look back on us Americans, just as we look back on the brutality of “witch” burning, leper colonies, the kidnapping and enslaving of Africans, the genocide of Native Americans, and dank insane asylums that provided lobotomies for unfortunates. We’ll be labeled a foolish and simple people in our civics, yet barbaric in our actions, a people incapable or unwilling to operate on the principles of enlightenment, rationale thinking, scientific discovery and reason. This fact should serve notice to the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors. Nobody blames the men who drove nails into Jesus’ hands; the blame is squarely set on Pontius Pilot and the Pharisees. [3] It is the leaders of evil acts in which the future casts judgment, Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Pol Pot, Dick Cheney. Take notice policy makers, by your passive indifference, murderous medieval incarceration will be your legacy. History will not treat you kindly.

I did not know Krista Deluca, but I know she died a horrible and preventable death. I also know that she suffered from addiction, and as such was considered distinct and excluded from “civil society.” Her grave condition was ignored and her death in a dungeon located in the Santa Cruz jail will soon be just another casualty of the war on drugs. Forgotten. Assigned to the care of the Santa Cruz Jail officials, who proudly maintain their “first priority in corrections is the safety of incarcerated individuals,” she departed this life. She died alone, without loved ones to comfort her, to reassure her, to touch her gently. Her final degradation after 96 hours of hell, is that her last remembrance will be of…a cot, metal bars, grey walls and a cement floor. Krista Deluca, beautiful, once alive, is now dead.

[1] I am fully aware of the seriousness and implications of this statement. I do not take lightly or disrespectfully this comparison. The distinction of this comparison lies not in the intensity of despair and pain suffered, but the massive scope in which the Nazi’s perpetrated their evils.

[2] Due to a major lawsuit settled in 2001, Plata v. Schwarzenegger, the California

Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has been forced to adopt policies concerning pregnant women prisoners. The CDCR is required to provide methadone treatment to all pregnant prisoners who have been on heroin or who are currently receiving methadone treatment. I would wonder if Ms. Deluca was given a pregnancy test during the booking process or anytime during her last four days. What is clear is that methadone would have been available, if anyone cared to save her life.

[3] In approximately mid to late 300 A.D., Augustine of Hippo shifted the blame for Jesus’ Crucifiction onto all Jewry. He suggested that rather than murdering Jews, Christians should promote the scattering of Jews, as a reminder to all of their responsibility in the crucifixion of Jesus. Augustine of Hippo is now Saint Augustine.


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Four Days...DBruce LoiselThursday Sep 8th, 2016 6:41 PM
The DISEASE of AddictionChristy Sutherlin St.ArnoWednesday Aug 3rd, 2016 9:54 PM
Radio interview about advocating to save Megan Andrea Morgan's life while in County JailJohn Cohen-ColbySunday Jul 3rd, 2016 12:34 PM
Santa Cruz County Jail and the California Forensic Medical Group in government crosshairs!John Cohen-ColbyThursday Jun 30th, 2016 10:42 PM