5 charged in death of man who had seizures at Michigan jail

The attorney general’s office filed involuntary manslaughter charges, accusing the five of willful neglect of duty in the death of Paul Bulthouse at the Muskegon County jail.
The attorney general’s office filed involuntary manslaughter charges, accusing the five of willful neglect of duty in the death of Paul Bulthouse at the Muskegon County jail.

MUSKEGON, Mich. – Four sheriff’s officers and a nurse were charged in the 2019 death of a jail inmate in western Michigan who had a series of seizures, authorities said Friday.

The attorney general’s office filed involuntary manslaughter charges, accusing the five of willful neglect of duty in the death of Paul Bulthouse at the Muskegon County jail.

“Mr. Bulthouse died of gross neglect and due to complete disregard for human life by five individuals who were within feet of him but never acted to assist him,” Attorney General Dana Nessel said.

Bulthouse, 39, was arrested by North Shores police on a probation violation. He was classified as suicidal, which required monitoring by officers every 15 minutes, Nessel said.

He was in jail for about two weeks and died after having at least 22 seizures over 5 1/2 hours, Nessel said.

Sheriff Michael Poulin said his office cooperated with investigations into Bulthouse's death and provided hours of video as well as records and access to witnesses.

He said Nessel's office has provided no additional evidence “that would permit our office to make any determination of wrongdoing.”

Bulthouse’s family has a lawsuit pending against the sheriff and a contractor that provides care at the jail.

“After the first police sham investigation, I never thought anything would be done, so I’m at least pleased that somebody is taking it seriously,” said Bulthouse’s father, John Bulthouse.

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