Girlfriend Of Ex-MEAT PUPPETS Bassist Says He's Being Mistreated While In Custody

January 10, 2004

Ruth Wilson, the girlfriend of former MEAT PUPPETS bassist Cris Kirkwood, has issued an update on his condition via the Cris Kirkwood Yahoo! group [email protected].

Kirkwood, 43, is charged with assault with a deadly weapon at a federal facility for allegedly striking a security guard with the guard's baton after an argument over a parking space at the downtown Phoenix post office. The guard then shot Kirkwood in the back.

Wilson's entire message, originally posted on Friday (Jan. 9),reads as follows:

"Hello. I apologize for not posting anything for awhile. I wrote this really long message to post to the group and it got deleted somehow when I sent it and I don't have a recycle bin on my desktop for some reason. I don't know anything about computers.

"Anyway, I'm not even sure what information I have already conveyed at this point. I'm exhausted and frustrated and anyway this is about Cris and not me so enough about my mental and physical status.

"Cris calls me daily now from CCA in Florence, Arizona. He is not doing well. They have made several serious mistakes with regard to Cris' treatment and Cris has been quite adversely effected by these mistakes.

"I don't know if you all know this already so I will briefly say it again. CCA made a mistake. They did not house him in the proper unit for the first five days that he was there and he received no medical care at all during that period of time.

"Finally, Cris mustered up the strength on Saturday, January 3rd to call me collect from CCA and tell me that he had not had the dressing on his gunshot wound on his back changed since he was in the hospital. He had not received any anitbiotics, Methadone, pain relievers, etc.

"I called CCA and spoke with a captain who agreed to personally look into the situation. He asked me to call him back in a couple hours. I did, and he advised me that there had been a MISTAKE! Cris had been housed in the wrong unit by mistake. The captain saw to it that the dressing on Cris' wound was changed and personally wheeled him in his wheelchair to 'Medical Two' where he should have been from the day he arrived at CCA. The captain advised that it was currently 'pill call' and that Cris would be receiving medication at any moment.

"I called my stepdad who is an emergency physician and has worked at the County ER, a Level One Trauma Unit, for 30 years. He knows a thing or two about gunshot wounds. I described the symptoms that Cris had described to me. Since his lack of medical treatment, Cris' feet had gone from having a tingling sensation, to being completely numb. His legs were also numb. Also, his genitalia were numb. My stepdad does not get freaked out very easily. He has seen some sh*t in his 30 years as a trauma doctor. He told me that the symptoms that Cris was describing were indicative of compression on the spinal cord. He said that Cris' situation was a 'time imperative' situation and that 'every minute counts.' He said that Cris should be immediately transported to a medical facility where an MRI and a neurosurgical evaluation could be performed ASAP.

"I began my attempts to reach his attorney, Jane McClellan, who had called a week earlier at Curt's request and told me she was a MEAT PUPPETS fan and knew Curt and was a Federal Public Defender and wanted to represent Cris. She gave me her home phone number and told me to have Cris call her blah blah blah.

"Well, a week later, after she lost Cris' Detention Hearing and Cris was wheeled away in handcuffs and transported to CCA in Florence, Arizona, Jane began what ended up being one week of dodging my phone calls. I have yet to speak to her, but she did have her secretary call me today to tell me to quit calling Jane.

"I explained the seriousness of the mistake that the Feds made while Cris was in their custody. She told me Cris was fine and Jane was going to visit him tomorrow. Jane said she would drive to Florence on Monday and didn't. She said she would drive there on Wednesday and did not. I doubt she will make the one-hour drive on her day off. I would be willing to bet on it actually.

"Jane told me not to speak to the press. I honored her request because I wanted the best for Cris. However, when this reporter from the Arizona Republic called me a few days ago, I told him what was happening with these mistakes and Cris now having numbness and all.

"Cris can receive mail at this address:

Christopher Kirkwood
PO 6300
Florence, AZ 85232
Housing # 6002M102

"I may have the order or the lines out of order. If you want to verify, the number for CCA is (520) 868-3668.

"There is more info that was deleted in a previous attempt to post and I am just fried right now. I will post another message later.

"Our dog, Horky, is demanding that he have his evening walk right now. I am going for a walk and will try to collect my thoughts and post another message to the group. Until then.....

"Thank you, each and every one of you, for your support and concern.

"Love, Ruth Wilson"

In other news, Michael Kiefer of the Arizona Republic has reported what is believed to be Kirkwood's side of the incident that led to him being taken into custody.

According to testimony by FBI Special Agent Lance Leising, Kirkwood claimed the guard struck him. On cross-examination by Kirkwood's court-appointed defender, Leising said Kirkwood told FBI agents he had been sitting on a post office bench waiting for his girlfriend when the guard asked him to leave.

Kirkwood alleged the guard struck him on the head from behind as he was passing through the two sets of doors, according to the agent's statement. Kirkwood said he then took the baton away from the guard and struck him with a fist, then threw the baton on the ground. The guard, he said, shot him as he walking away.

The guard, Thomas Goodrum, claimed Kirkwood pushed him twice before Goodrum hit Kirkwood at least twice on the knee with the baton. Then, according to the FBI's statement of probable cause, Kirkwood took the baton and struck Goodrum on the head with it. Goodrum, who lost his glasses during the fight, drew his gun and fired.

Kirkwood's attorney, Jane McClellan, asked Judge Virginia Mathis to release Kirkwood pending trial, citing his medical condition. Kirkwood has inoperable bullet fragments near his spine and in his pelvic area and can walk only with the assistance of a walker. In addition, he is taking methadone to overcome drug addiction, McClellan said.

Mathis denied the request for release, citing Kirkwood's past drug convictions, failures to make court dates and probation violations.

"You are out of control," she told him.

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