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Family says Middlesex inmate died after not getting medication

A 68-year-old prisoner in the Middlesex County jail in Billerica died after suffering a medical episode on Friday, and his family contends he did not receive necessary heart medication behind bars.

Courtney Keaton, 43, of Hawaii, said Friday in a phone interview that she received word earlier in the day that her father, Stephen Dare, suffered a heart attack and was later pronounced dead at Lahey Hospital in Burlington.

Keaton said she last spoke with her father on Thursday, and he indicated he was not receiving his heart medication.

“He told me no, that it might be too expensive,” Keaton said. “He’s only been there for a few weeks, and they never gave it to him.”


The Middlesex sheriff’s department released a brief statement confirming Dare’s death but did not comment on Keaton’s claims about the medication.

“Late this afternoon an inmate being held at the Middlesex Jail and House of Correction suffered a medical emergency,” the statement said. “The inmate, 68-year-old Stephen Dare, was immediately treated at the scene by Middlesex Sheriff’s Office medical personnel and transported to Lahey Hospital where he passed away.”

Kevin Maccioli, a spokesman for the sheriff’s department, said he could not comment on Dare specifically due to medical privacy laws but that according to protocol, all detainees are asked to provide a list of their medications, as well as the pharmacy where they are filled.

Once that information is confirmed, the medications are provided as prescribed, Maccioli said.

Dare’s lawyer, Marty Leppo, said in a phone interview that his client was convicted last month of cocaine possession but acquitted of possessing the drug with intent to distribute and driving under the influence.

Leppo said he pleaded with Superior Court Judge Kimberly Budd to allow his client to remain free pending sentencing because of his health problems, but she sided with prosecutors and revoked his bail.


“I’ve seen plenty of sick guys go into the can on serious cases, and some judges will let more notorious guys out than this,” Leppo said.

He described Dare, of Framingham, as “a nice guy” and said the case involved “four little folds of cocaine.”

Dare had previously received a 10-year sentence for kidnapping, “but he hasn’t been in trouble for years and years,” Leppo said.

Asked to comment on the court proceedings, a spokeswoman for the Middlesex district attorney’s office said in an e-mail that Dare suffered a previous medical event in court.

Meghan Kelly said Dare “was convicted by a jury on February 26 on the charge of possession with intent to distribute cocaine. On Monday, February 29 the defendant returned to court. Before a sentence could be imposed, the defendant had a medical episode and was placed in the care of paramedics. No further date had yet been set for sentencing.”

Leppo said Dare had passed out during that medical episode and that he was “incensed” at his client’s treatment by authorities.

Keaton, Dare’s daughter, echoed that sentiment.

“I’m extremely upset that he was improperly treated,” she said. “He should have been given that medication. ... Now I don’t have him.”

She said Dare is survived by his two children and grandchildren, and that she has not decided whether to file a lawsuit.

“There’s nothing they can give me that will bring back my dad,” she said.


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.