TULSA, Okla.  – Former Ottawa County Jail Administrator Jeff Harding spent Tuesday wavering from earlier testimony in the federal wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of Terral Ellis, Jr.

Harding was the first witness to testify in the trial that is expected to last two weeks.

Ellis, of Miami, died of sepsis and pneumonia on Oct. 22, 2015, while incarcerated in the Ottawa County Jail.  His complaints of seizures, convulsions, uncontrollable sweating, the inability to walk along with pain in his back, ribs, and internal organs, were allegedly ignored by Theresa Horn, Ottawa County Jail nurse.

This 2012 photo Terral Ellis Jr. and his child. (Courtesy of the Ellis family via AP)

Dan Smolen, attorney for the Ellis estate said that Harding’s own words in his deposition were used to dispute his trial testimony on Tuesday.

Harding is expected to finish his testimony on Wednesday.

Harding testified in his Nov. 15, 2019 deposition, the video depicting Ellis’s pleas for help bothered him.

Harding testified if he had been in earshot of Ellis’s cries, he would have called medical personnel, EMS, and personally would have checked on him, according to the deposition.

“The staff and nurses ignored Ellis’s complaints but according to the jail log, so were multiple inmates’ complaints being ignored,”  Smolen said.

An Ottawa County Jail incident reported on Oct. 21, 2015, around 4:30 p.m. shows Ellis suffered a seizure and Horn and EMTs were notified.  The EMTs noted in the report they checked Ellis out and he was “deemed fit” to remain in jail, the report states.

A second incident report on the same date around 9:30 p.m. shows Ellis had another seizure.

Around 10 p.m., another incident report on the same day showed Ellis was complaining he was going numb from the waist down.  Horn was notified of the situation and told the jail staff over the phone to have Ellis get up and walk around, and if needed give him an over-the-counter pain medication and she would see him the following morning, the report states.

A fourth incident report dated Oct. 22, 2015, around 1:45 p.m. shows Ellis was found alone in his cell with acute respiratory distress, and a bed sheet tied loosely around his neck.

Smolen said earlier this tactic was done as a coverup by the Ottawa County Jail staff. The medical examiner recorded no injuries, he said.

Harding testified in his 2019 deposition Horn was responsible for the medical day-to-day medical issues that came up in the jail, such as medications dispensed.

Harding denied making statements that Ellis was faking his illness and he never heard any complaints regarding Horn.

New hires, including Horn, spend at least two days on the policies and procedures and jail standards, he said in the deposition.

This is a developing story and we will continue to provide daily updates as more information becomes available.