PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Armstrong County Jail and its warden are facing a federal lawsuit over an inmate’s escape.
Robert Crissman got away in late July, and while free, police say he’s accused of strangling a woman.
Tammy Long, of Kittanning, was in her Rebecca Street home when police say she was beaten and strangled, allegedly by Robert Crissman, the inmate who escaped from the jail.
Long was a mother and grandmother, with 10 brothers and sisters, at the time of her death.
“My mother will remain a special person to me and my family. She was many things to many different people,” said Tara Long, Tammy’s daughter.
Now the victim’s loved ones have filed suit against Armstrong County and the warden of the jail, David Hogue.
They alleged there was a breakdown in how the system was run , which made it possible for Crissman to escape.
“The investigation and review of the circumstances of this tragedy can only lead to on stark, unavoidable conclusion, and that is that the escape of Robert Crissman and Tammy Long’s murder were preventable,” said lawyer George Kontos.
The civil suit, filed in federal court, alleges Crissman had a long criminal history, including drug use and abuse, which should have prohibited him from being a “trustee” at the jail with special privileges.
The suit also argues the county should have had a better notification process for people who lived near the facility.
“By filing this lawsuit, we seek to honor [Long’s] memory in a way that will hopefully bring something positive from such a horrific event,” said Kontos.
In addition to compensation for Long’s surviving family members, the suit seeks changes in how the prison operates in the future. The suit is seeking a jury trial.