Florida investigating allegations that Paul Rico was assaulted in a Miami jail

Wednesday, January 21st 2004, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(Tulsa-AP) -- Florida jail authorities were looking into allegations a former FBI agent was assaulted before his extradition to Tulsa, where he died last week while facing murder charges.

Officials say the results of an autopsy into the cause of H. Paul Rico's death at a Tulsa hospital Friday are pending.

Before his death, the Miami-Dade County Jail was investigating reports by his attorney that the 78-year-old was assaulted last month while in custody.

A jail spokeswoman says no incident report or complaint about such an attack had been found.

Rico was flown to Tulsa by private air ambulance two weeks ago to face charges that he helped his former mob informants arrange the 19-81 slaying of businessman Roger Wheeler.

Rico was hospitalized last week to obtain a health assessment.

Rico's attorney pushed for his client's release, saying he had lost 53 pounds in custody, suffered heart problems that required a pacemaker and was gravely ill.