A hearing to divide and apportion proceeds from a wrongful death settlement between Franklin County Sheriff Jeff Richards and the family of Benjamin Mastel, an inmate who died in custody in the Franklin County Adult Detention Center in June 2016, is scheduled for Tuesday.
Mastel, 35, of Ottawa, was jailed after he was arrested in April 2016 for allegedly stabbing Donald Brett Jones, 36, of Ottawa, at a local residence. Jones survived the attack.
At the time, Mastel was facing a felony charge of aggravated battery.
Mastel was unresponsive when he was found by jail staff in his cell. Authorities reported staff members performed CPR and used a defibrillator on the inmate before he was transported to an Ottawa hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
Following Mastel’s death, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation conducted an investigation into the incident.
Officials have said the death resulted from a suicide.
Mastel had previous convictions in Franklin County District Court, including domestic battery, drug and criminal threat charges. He also served time in state’s prison system.
The civil case was filed in September 2018. According to court records, a settlement was reached in August of this year.
“The sheriff’s office is not admitting any wrongdoing or any liability on behalf of the staff,” Richards said. “Any loss of life is tragic, and we’re pleased an amicable resolution could be found for all involved.”
Tuesday’s hearing will deal with the apportionment of wrongful death proceeds as stated by law, and for District Court Judge Eric Godderz to approve the settlement as well as attorney’s fees and expenses for Caelynd Mastel, Mastel’s daughter, and his other children.
The details of the settlement, including the dollar amount, will not likely be made public, officials said.
Any person claiming an interest in the settlement proceeds must appear and present evidence during Tuesday’s hearing, or it may be excluded, officials said.
The hearing begins at 9 a.m.