Trip To The County Jail!

Front entrance of the Manitowoc County Jail

I walked into the Manitowoc County Jail Today and started snapping pictures.  Mary, the woman you see below, popped out of her tiny office and asked my name and what I was up to.  I told her I was taking a few pictures.  She was polite and didn’t have any problem with that.  The plaque on the wall outside her office read Sgt Mary K Reel, Huber Officer.  I’ve never heard of any such title. Must be a Wisconsin thing like Spotted Cow beer (highly recommended).

Huber Officer Mary K. Reel of the Manitowoc County Sheriff's Department

Huber Officer Mary K. Reel of the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department

The jail is only steps from the courthouse.  The Inverness Jail in Multnomah County, Oregon,  is located about ten miles away from the jail which makes it very difficult for lawyers to see their clients.  And it’s also a massive operation to get inmates back and forth to court.  They are roused at 3 am, led to a squalid and cramped holding tank for a few hours, shackled, loaded on to  a bus, driven to court, unloaded, unshackled again, and finally marched into another holding cell even more crowded and squalid before each court appearances.  Before court, you get shackled down again to make sure you experience maximum humiliation (men are also given pink underwear to wear) before the public.  On my day in court there was a crowd of young school children there on a field trip who all gawked at me like zoo exhibit).  In Portland, Oregon, even kids get the shackle treatment.  The official rationale is that it’s done for the safety and security of the institution.  This is the justification for almost everything, in fact.

Female inmate being escorted to the Manitowoc county court house

Female inmate being escorted to the Manitowoc county court house

Below is Larry Ledvina who was a little camera shy today for some reason.  His official title is Deputy Inspector, Support.  He walked up to me and just like Mary Reel, asked what I was doing there.  I told him that I was there to snap a few pictures.  He asked for ID.  I just said no.  He then asked me who I was.  I answered his question with the same question: “Who are YOU?”  He said “I’m Larry Ledvina!”  I said, “It’s a pleasure to meet you, sir”, and went on about my business.
Larry Ledvina turning away from camera

Larry Ledvina

As I was on my way out, I saw a man in an orange vest manning a snow blower.  It turned out to be prisoner Josiah Novatny who was in jail for stealing a car after getting drunk.  I asked him how he was being treated, and he indicated not too bad.  But he said all kinds of crooked stuff goes on in the jail.  When I pressed him for details, he told me that the junkies are brought in and not given anything to help them come down, and that a woman, Stephanie Novak died in custody for want of medical care about three months ago.  He went on to say that he knew the Avery’s personally, and even took a few classes with Chris Avery.  He stated that he had serious doubts about Brendan’s guilt, at least, and said that there was an incinerator on the property that could have easily handled getting rid of human remains, and even the RAV 4 itself.  I got his contact information, and I assured him that I would be getting in contact in July when he’s scheduled to be released.  He said he could also be reached by post, which I also plan to do just to make sure he’s being treated well.
inmate clearing sidewalk of snow

Inmate clearing sidewalk of snow


10 comments

  • Daniel,

    Do you know if Jerry Pagel has any children? I was searching Ryan and noticed he went to college with a Jessica Pagel. They graduated the same year. (which may not be any relationship whatsoever) but was curious.

  • Daniel Luke, I have never seen anyone like you as an (unpaid outsider) using your own money put so much persistence, energy, and human compassion into this case of injustice. I am very impressed with ALL your many hours that you have investigated this as a solider standing alone in your own investigation, with “no help from a soul.” Thank you for keeping us updated… You are truly a servant on earth…
    “My hat is off to you!!!”

  • Pingback: One amateur sleuth’s cross-country quest to prove his ‘Making a Murderer’ theory

  • Huber Law allows some Wisconsin inmates to leave jail each day & go to work at their regular job.

  • Keep it up man. Just started following you a twitter the other day too! Is your go fund me page still up? I'd like to donate!

  • This is the kind of stuff that we need more of. Have you contacted the Netflix creators and talked about making something with you and your efforts to solve this? You're putting a lot of good, hard work into this and I would hate for your efforts to go unknown. What about a local news station?? You could present your case and try to gather local support!!!!!!!!!

  • Hi Devo, thanks so much for your kind words. So much to do.

  • Wow, Daniel, you are covering this like nobody else & I'm so grateful. Keep it up!

  • good interview. good stuff.