Inmate’s family hires attorney after viral photos emerge from Alabama prison

A national civil rights attorney has been hired by an Alabama family after startling photos of a state inmate’s physical deterioration were made public on social media and immediately went viral.

Kastellio Vaughan, 32, is serving a 20-year sentence for 2019 convictions of multiple car break-ins and a burglary in Baldwin and Mobile counties.

Earlier this week, his sister posted to Facebook photos of Vaughan that showed him emaciated and his eyes rolling back into his head. The images were in stark contrast to a photo of Vaughan taken in July.

The sister said she was sent the photos with the message, “Get Help.”

On Friday, attorney Lee Merritt announced he was hired by the inmate and his family, and also provided more detail about Vaughan’s medical state.

Vaughan, Merritt said, reportedly underwent surgery in August to remove a portion of his intestines as a result of gunshot injuries sustained prior to his incarceration.

Vaughan, as previously reported by, was shot in 2013 when authorities say he was carrying out an attempted home invasion in Mobile.

Police at the time said the incident happened about 8 p.m. on July 10, 2013. Two men told police they had invited two women whom they didn’t know into a home on South Gimon Circle. Shortly after their arrival a man, who police identified as Vaughan, came into the home.

His face was covered by a ski mask, police said. Vaughan demanded money from the men. However, one of the victims was the homeowner and knew a gun was stashed in his bedroom closet.

He grabbed the gun and was shot. He spent a week in the hospital and was ultimately arrested and indicted on a first-degree robbery charge. The charge was later dismissed.

Merritt on Friday said Vaughan’s family members report that following Vaughan’s surgery last month, he was immediately discharged from the hospital on the same day as his surgery and placed back into the general population at Elmore Correctional Facility.

“Due to inadequate facilities, abuse and medical neglect, Vaughan’s medical condition rapidly deteriorated,” Merritt said. “Vaughan is believed to have lost 75 pounds in less than a month.”

“Vaughan’s surgical scars were exposed to unsanitary conditions and were possibly infected,” Merritt said.

Vaughan’s family began receiving the photos of the sick inmate earlier this week and issued a plea for help.

Merritt said the family’s efforts to obtain information from prison officials were “rebuffed.”

Both Merritt and Alabama Department of Corrections officials said Vaughan has since been moved to the prison system’s Staton Medical Observation Unit.

The lawyer said he and his staff are working to make direct contact with Vaughan and medical professionals that can evaluate his condition and make recommendations for necessary and appropriate care.

“Alabama state prisons have a duty to provide the appropriate medical care for Mr. Vaughan while he remains in their custody,” Merritt wrote. “Prisoners are entitled to the same basic human decency as all other citizens in our country.”

“We are investigating whether or not agents of the state of Alabama violated their duty of care to Mr. Vaughan by allowing his medical condition to spiral to the point reflected in the images now circulating on the web.”

On Thursday, ADOC officials in an email to acknowledged they were aware of the concern about Vaughan and said, “ADOC’s Office of Health Services has fully investigated his situation from a clinical perspective, and he has been offered all necessary treatment for his condition. Also, he has been in touch with his family to update them on his situation.”

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