Suspect Connected To Murder Case Transfers From Benton County Jail
A federal fraud suspect being investigated in a Rogers murder case was transferred from the Benton County Jail this week, a month after complaining that jail doctors were denying him treatment for Lyme Disease.
James Bolt, 60, was transported Monday night from the Benton County Jail to the Washington County Detention Center, where he is being held for federal authorities in a federal fraud case concerning Situs Oncology, a Rogers cancer center that Bolt directed before authorities raided the location earlier this year.
Bolt was transferred because of an undisclosed medical issue, a law enforcement official told 5NEWS. The official said she could not disclose whether the medical issue concerned Bolt’s alleged Lyme Disease.
Federal Judge Erin Setser in November ordered Bolt to remain in jail, denying his lawyer’s motion to take him to a local doctor for treatment of Lyme Disease. Bolt’s attorney had requested Bolt be allowed time away from the Benton County Jail to see a neurology specialist in Bentonville, Ahmad Al-Khatib, described to the court by a defense attorney as a “neuro-something or other,” according to an order signed by Setser and released Monday.
Setser states records do not show any definitive diagnosis of Lyme Disease for Bolt, only past statements from Bolt himself claiming to have the disease, according to the judge’s order. Benton County Jail nurse Darla Watson told authorities tests on Bolt checking for Lyme Disease came back negative, and the jail doctor was unable to obtain any records showing Bolt ever had the disease, according to court documents.
“[I]f defendant has any further complaints of receiving inadequate medical care at the jail, defense counsel should inquire into the matter and attempt to resolve it with the Deputy United States Marshal,” Setser states in the order.
Benton County Jail is in the process of being sued in federal court by the family of an inmate who died in jail while suffering undiagnosed from cancer, according to court documents. Charlotte Ann Robinson, the administrator of the estate of Faith Denise Whitcomb, filed a lawsuit in August in federal court in Fayetteville against former Benton County Sheriff Keith Ferguson and jail doctors John Allan Huskins and Warran Scott Lafferty, according to court documents.
That case is set to go to trial in federal court next August, according to court records.
In the lawsuit, Robinson alleges that Whitcomb was visibly suffering from the physical effects of pancreatic cancer for several months before her death in May 2012, but that jail officials ignored her requests for medical attention and kept her in jail too long.
Whitcomb, 52, was arrested in July 2011 and later charged with felony drug offenses. Unable to pay her bond, she stayed in the Benton County Jail while awaiting her trial, according to the lawsuit. Judge Robin Green with the Benton County Circuit Court ordered Whitcomb be sent to the Arkansas State Hospital after a mental evaluation found her to be unfit to stand trial. She was to remain in state Department of Human Services custody until she was ready to stand trial, the suit states.
Robinson states Whitcomb was suffering from schizophrenia. The jail never transferred her to DHS custody, though, and Whitcomb started experiences severe pains a few months later. She submitted several requests for medical treatment, which were either ignored or met with prescriptions of Tylenol, which did not help her pain, the lawsuit states.
Whitcomb was found dead in her cell on May 3, 2012. A subsequent autopsy showed Whitcomb died from undiagnosed pancreatic cancer that had spread to her liver, lungs and lymph system. The lawsuit states that if Whitcomb had been taken to a hospital or given proper attention by the jail doctors, her pancreatic cancer could have been detected, and her life may have been saved.
In addition to the doctors, the lawsuit also faults Ferguson for Whitcomb’s death by stating that the former sheriff should have transferred Whitcomb into DHS custody the November before her death.
Summons were issued for Ferguson, Huskins and Lafferty in connection with the case, according to court documents.
Bolt’s case is scheduled to go to trial in federal court on Jan. 13 at 8:30 a.m. in Judge Jimm Larry Hendren’s courtroom in Fayetteville, according to court records.
Records surfaced in September showing authorities believe Bolt, a Rogers cancer research director, who became the subject of an FBI raid, may be an accessory to murder.
Bolt was arrested Aug. 30 in a federal fraud investigation that began with a raid of his cancer research center. He was ordered in a September hearing in federal court to remain in jail because he may be a flight risk. An FBI agent testified during the hearing that federal authorities were investigating Bolt on suspicion of being an accessory to murder in the death of a Rogers man.
Bolt was involved in a scheme with capital murder suspect Fred Bremer, 39, to take cars from a dealership run by Jack McCain, 67, and sell them for parts, FBI agent Robert Cessario testified in the detention hearing in September. On orders from Bolt to intimidate the car dealer and cut him out of the scheme, authorities believe Bremer gunned down McCain in the back in 2011 on Gobbler’s Knob Road in McDonald County, Mo., records show.
Bolt then helped Bremer establish an alibi, the agent testified.
The case was left unsolved for two years. Then in June, Bolt allegedly implicated Bremer in McCain’s shooting death, the same month Bolt’s cancer research facility and three other properties were raided by FBI agents in the fraud investigation. Airplanes belonging to Bolt were also seized by federal agents during the raid, according to the FBI.
Bremer was arrested in August on suspicion of capital murder in connection with McCain’s death. He was later extradited to McDonald County, the scene of the alleged crime, and reportedly admitted to authorities that he killed McCain, according to the U.S. District Attorney’s Office in Fort Smith.
Cessario, the FBI agent, also testified Wednesday that Bolt may have told those close to him he was planning to abscond to Belize with $8,000 in cash if he thought police were close to catching him, authorities said.
Bolt remains in the Benton County Jail, awaiting the next hearing in his federal fraud case. Federal authorities continue to investigate Bolt’s potential accessory to murder charge. Bremer remains in the custody of law enforcement in McDonald County, Mo., awaiting trial in his capital murder case.
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