Accused Killer In Calorie Beef

Down 105 pounds, obese inmate sues jailers for 'lack of nutrition'

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Accused Killer In Calorie Beef

APRIL 27--Meet Broderick Laswell.

Since his arrest last September on a murder charge, the Arkansas man, 19, has been locked up in the Benton County jail, where he has shed 105 of his original 413 pounds. While most people suffering from obesity would probably welcome such a weight loss, Laswell has made a federal case out of it. Claiming that he is "literally being starved to death," the 6', 308-pound Laswell Friday filed a lawsuit charging that his civil rights have been violated by jailers.

According to the U.S. District Court complaint, an excerpt of which you'll find here, Laswell contends that he is being provided with so few calories that, about an hour after every meal, "my stomach starts to hurt and growl. I feel hungry again." This purported "lack of nutrition," Laswell claims, is reflected in miniscule biscuits and cake sizes, the small amount of chips accompanying sandwiches, and the occasional provision of "2 small cookies."

And just in case anyone thought he was only concerned about junk food, the accused killer also complains about the "drizzle of dressing" placed on his "small side of lettuce." [For a photographic record of Laswell's weight loss, click here to view a series of of mug shots of the shrinking inmate that were taken over the last eight months.]

The lethargic Laswell claims that "on several occasions" he has "started to do some excersizing and my vision went blurry and I felt like I was going to pass out." He attributes this, of course, to diminished calorie intake, not morbid obesity.

Laswell and an accomplice were arrested last year for allegedly beating and stabbing a man to death, according to a Circuit Court probable cause affidavit. He is pictured in his mug shot, which apparently was snapped shortly after he was incarcerated. (10 pages)