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Inmate dies after being found unresponsive in cell

TAMPA - A 33-year-old male inmate died Sunday night after he was found unresponsive at Falkenburg Road Jail, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said.

The inmate was found sitting on the floor of his cell. A jail deputy conducting a routine check found him at around 7 p.m., the sheriff's office said.

Sheriff's medical staff was called to the cell and the inmate was moved to the jail's medical facility. He was later taken to Brandon Hospital. He was pronounced dead at 10:10 p.m., the sheriff's office said.

The inmate, whose name hasn't been released, was in jail on a felony battery charge. A court recently had ruled him mentally incompetent to stand trial. He was scheduled to be transferred to Florida State Hospital, the sheriff's office said.

The Hillsborough County Medical Examiner's Office and sheriff's detectives will conduct a death investigation

Family's suit says St. Louis Jail is at fault in death of inmate

ST. LOUIS • Courtland Lucas' family is convinced he still should be alive.

The 31-year-old collapsed from heart failure at the St. Louis Justice Center on May 25, 2009, five days after he was arrested for a probation violation. His family said he had been taken into custody because he missed a meeting with his probation officer. After he collapsed, he was transported to St. Louis University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Lucas had chronic heart disease and used a pacemaker. In a wrongful death lawsuit filed this month against the city and the jail's health care provider on behalf of Lucas' family, the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri contends jail officials failed to provide Lucas with adequate medical care or the necessary medications to treat his condition.

"I'm just upset and angry because the system failed him," said one of Lucas' sisters, Landa Poke.

The private contractor that provides medical care at the jail says the lawsuit's version of how Lucas died has inaccuracies and insists its staff is "experienced and well-trained."

But ACLU officials in St. Louis say Lucas' death is the result of what they see as a series of breakdowns at city jails, including inadequate medical care.

"In this case, it was pretty clear to us that Courtland Lucas should not have died, did not deserve to die and probably should not have even been placed in the justice center in the first place," Redditt Hudson of the ACLU said.

In a March 2009 report, the ACLU alleged that inadequate medical attention was among myriad problems at the jail, including poor sanitation, a "culture of abuse" of inmates, sexual misconduct involving inmates and falsification of reports.

Since then, the ACLU and the city department of corrections have been collaborating to improve conditions, but the ACLU says some problems persist and an independent oversight panel is still needed to ensure policies are followed and inmates receive fair treatment.

Kara Bowlin, press secretary for Mayor Francis Slay, said city officials can't comment on pending litigation but released a statement saying, "While the city expresses its sorrow to Mr. Lucas' family, the city intends to vigorously defend the lawsuit and does not believe jail officials were responsible for Mr. Lucas' death."

Lucas was the youngest in a family of 14 children. He was the father of one child and had been a manager at a Popeye's restaurant. His siblings say he loved to joke around and write poetry. They say not long before his death he had written about his recommitment to God.

But Lucas' family also acknowledges that he struggled with drugs, including heroin. His criminal record included drug and traffic offenses, but nothing involving violence, his family and court records indicate.

Long before his run-ins with the law, he had struggled with heart problems. He had leaky heart valves and a heart murmur since childhood and had a series of surgeries in his teens, his family says. In the days before he was booked into the jail, he was weak and ill.

The lawsuit, filed in St. Louis Circuit Court, alleges jail officers failed to appropriately assess Lucas' medical condition upon his arrival at the facility and failed to "adequately and timely respond to his need for health care and treatment, thus resulting in his injury and death."

The suit asks for judgment in excess of $25,000 each from the city and Correctional Medical Services, the contractor that handles medical care at the jail.

Ken Fields, a spokesman for Correctional Medical Services, said in an e-mailed statement that the ACLU's version of what happened is inaccurate and will be addressed during the legal process. The company said it could not comment in detail because of patient confidentiality restrictions.

The statement also said the city jail "has an experienced and well-trained nursing staff on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week. ... Physicians are present at the center or on call at all times."

The Lucas family's suit is the second in recent years that alleges poor medical care at the jail proved fatal. In December 2008, the family of LaVonda Kimble, a 30-year-old woman who died at the jail, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against CMS. The family accuses the company of failing to accurately evaluate Kimble's medical condition or appropriately respond when she had an acute asthma attack on April 11, 2007.

That suit is still working its way through the courts.

Patrick O'Connell
October 27, 2010

Autopsy: Alcohol killed woman who died in Orange jail

- Staff writer
October 26, 2010

DURHAM -- A woman who died in the Orange County jail last spring probably died of alcohol poisoning but may have suffocated to death on her own vomit, according to an autopsy released by the state medical examiner's office Tuesday.

An anti-depressant drug, sertraline, found in Margaret Dale Kersey’s blood may have also played a role in her death, according to medical examiner Dr. Deborah Radisch. Sertraline is commonly sold under the brand name Zoloft.

A toxicology report accompanying the autopsy shows Kersey’s blood alcohol concentration was .36. For comparison, that’s four and a half times the legal limit for drivers.

"In my opinion, the cause of death in this case was due to acute ethanol poisoning," wrote Radisch, who examined Kersey's body. "The sedating action of sertraline and some degree of airway obstruction by gastric contents after vomiting may have played contributing roles in this death."

The Orange County Sheriff's Office has said deputies brought Kersey to the jail at 12:49 a.m. Saturday, May 8, after her sister had called 911 complaining that Kersey was drunk and violent.

She slept or passed out in the patrol car, and deputies placed her in a holding cell adjacent to the jail's control room. A detention officer noticed she was unresponsive at 1:13 a.m. Emergency medical personnel responded, found her in cardiac arrest, performed CPR and pronounced her dead at the scene.

Inmate found dead Prisoner Hanged with bed sheet at Bogalusa City Jail

The Daily News
October 27, 2010

An inmate in the Bogalusa City Jail was found hanging in his cell Thursday night, according to Acting Major Joe Culpepper.

James Stacey “Jimbo” Breland, 39, was found by corrections officers at approximately 9 p.m. He was in a cell by himself, and there was no sign of defensive wounds, Culpepper said.

“He hanged himself with a bed sheet,” he said.

Corrections officers are required to check on the inmates every 20 minutes, but they had spoken with Breland just 15 minutes before he was found hanging, according to Culpepper.

“There was no indication of what was about to happen,” he said.

Breland was incarcerated by the Bogalusa Police Department on misdemeanor theft charges, but faced additional charges from the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Inmate found dead at Twin Towers Jail

October 31, 2010 

L.A. County sheriff’s homicide detectives are investigating the death early Sunday of a man being detained at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in downtown Los Angeles.

Authorities were notified of the death at the facility at 450 Bauchet St. about 5:03 a.m., said sheriff’s Sgt. Michael Thomas. The inmate was pronounced dead at the scene, and there were no signs of foul play, Thomas said.

No information was available on the victim’s name, age or the reason he was being held. The County Jail houses maximum-security inmates, those awaiting trial and inmates with medical conditions.

 --Carla Rivera
   L.A. Now

Broward County Jail Inmate Hangs Himself to Avoid Prison Time


According to the report: "Earlier that evening, Valerie had told another inmate that he had been a drug addict since he was 14 and couldn't face more prison time."

Valerie lived in Wellington and was awaiting trial on charges of "aggravated fleeing and eluding, grand theft, petit theft, car burglary, and possession of burglary tools."

As of this writing, the report of Valerie's arrest had already disappeared from the Broward Sheriff Department's website.

Inmate commits suicide at prison

By Staff Report
Middletown Journal
November 2, 2010

TURTLECREEK TWP. — An inmate from Cincinnati reportedly committed suicide Sunday at the Warren Correctional Institution.

Steven Smith, 24, hanged himself with a sheet, according to the Warren County Coroner’s Office. No other information is available about the incident which is under investigation by the Ohio Highway Patrol’s Lebanon post, according to Julia Bush, WCI’s public information officer,

Smith had been incarcerated at WCI since March 2007.

According to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections website, Smith was convicted in Hamilton County for involuntary manslaughter and tampering with evidence and was serving an 18-year sentence which also included a gun specification.

The last suicide reported at WCI was Nov. 21, 2007, according to Julie Walburn, chief of the communications department for the state prison system. There have been two suicides reported in 2010 at the neighboring Lebanon Correctional Institution. Those occurred on Feb. 21 and on June 10, Walburn said.

On Sept. 27, Nicholas Hawley hanged himself at the Warren County Jail while awaiting transfer to the state prison system, according to the county Sheriff’s Office. That incident also remains under investigation.

Table 1. Number of local jail inmate deaths, by cause of death, 2000-2007

Number of local jail inmate deaths      Source:  Bureau of Justice Statistics

Cause of death










All causes








































Drug/alcohol intoxication








































Table 1. Number of state prisoner deaths, by cause of death, 2001-2007

Number of state prisoner deaths   Source:  Bureau of Justice Statistics       

Cause of death










All causes








































Drug/alcohol intoxication








































Female inmate found hanged to death in Okeechobee County Jail

November 04, 2010
By Daphne Duret
The Palm Beach Post

OKEECHOBEE — An Okeechobee County Jail inmate facing DUI manslaughter charges was found dead on Thursday from an apparent suicide, according to Okeechobee County Sheriff's deputies.

Deputies say Kerrie Michelle Howard, 35, had been an inmate at the jail since March, when a judge revoked her bail on drug charges.

While in jail Howard was charged with DUI manslaughter and other crimes for her alleged role in a 2009 crash that killed 25-year-old Derrick Jace Rogers. Howard was awaiting trial on those charges.

Sheriff's deputies say Howard was found hanged in her cell just after midnight on Wednesday. A suicide note was found. The St. Lucie County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed that Howard died of asphyxiation.

Inmate dies at El Paso County Jail

Nov 4, 2010
By Bea Karnes
News First 5

An inmate died at the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center early Thursday morning. An autopsy performed a few hours later did not find a cause of death. Toxicology tests are pending.

El Paso County Sheriff's Lt. Lari Sevene said, "Ricardo Rafel Grimaldo, age 20, was initially reported by his cellmate who was awoken by sounds of Mr. Grimaldo coughing and choking. He observed Grimaldo immediately rolling off of his bed to the floor. Medical personnel from CJC were immediately on scene and began providing life saving measures as Mr. Grimaldo was unresponsive. Continued life saving efforts were performed by CSFD and AMR while he was transported to Memorial Hospital. Mr. Grimaldo died at 5:37 a.m. at Memorial Hospital. "

Grimaldo has been in jail since Aug. 22. He was arrested for burglary and theft.


NEW CASTLE — A suicide in the county jail last week has officials looking at how to prevent inmate deaths.

Warden Brian Covert told the Lawrence County Prison Board yesterday that the New Castle police report on the incident matches the results of an internal investigation by jail staff and prison board members.

Covert said the jail and police are still waiting for the coroner’s report, which will contain toxicology test information.

Kathleen Ann Rogan, 31, of Slippery Rock Township, was found hanging in her booking area cell from a knotted bed sheet the morning of Oct. 11.

She had been admitted Oct. 7 and placed on suicide watch until Oct. 10, when she was evaluated by the jail’s doctor and nurse and cleared for 30-minute checks instead.

Prison board president David Getting said county officials are looking at what could have been done or what they need to do to prevent other incidents.

“If someone wants to take that kind of step, it’s difficult to prevent it.”

He said he had contacted the woman’s parents to offer his condolences and they have hired an attorney.

After the meeting, he said the attorney is Philip Berezniak of Ellwood City. However, Berezniak would not confirm or deny he is representing Rogan’s family.

Amy Lamb, a county resident who attended the board meeting, tearfully insisted on knowing details about who had admitted Rogan to the jail that night and whether she had first been treated at a hospital.

“We all pay taxes and I have a right to know.” She asked why no one was watching her cell.

“I’m upset about it too,” Gettings told her.

He explained Rogan did not commit suicide the night she was booked, but a few days later, after evaluation.

“The issue is, what did we do when we got her, in terms of her condition,” he said, adding, “We take this very seriously ... and we’re trying to make sure that ... it doesn’t happen again. We’re there to protect (the inmates) from themselves and from something else.”

He said Rogan was still alive when a corrections officer found her and cut her down.

“It’s not possible in this jail or in any other jail to watch them 24-7,” Gettings added.

Covert explained Rogan had been placed on suicide watch when she entered the jail because when she was in medical intake, “she triggered.”

He explained after the meeting that upon admittance, the inmates are asked several questions and graded on responses and on their history. If they score above a certain number, they automatically are placed under suicide watch.

That means someone checks on them every 15 minutes, he explained, and they sleep on a special mattress that is like a sleeping bag.

When someone is taken off suicide watch, he or she is taken off that mattress and assigned to a regular jail bed.

“I don’t think anyone understands why people do certain things,” he said, adding, “It’s a tragic event for everyone involved.”

“I’ve been told if someone is bent on doing this, they have a 95 percent chance of succeeding,” Gettings added.

Covert told Lamb the jail officials are reviewing the policies to see if they can correct the problems of inmates trying to hurt themselves.

Gary Mitchell, who provides Bible study for the inmates, asked what the legality is of the county placing observation cameras in the booking area.

“They could prevent things like this.”


Tarrant County Jail inmate dies of natural causes

Posted Monday, Nov. 08, 2010
By Deanna Boyd

FORT WORTH -- A Tarrant County Jail inmate suspected in the attacks of two women in March, including the rape of one, died of natural causes Saturday, an autopsy has determined.

Lynn E. Denham, 55, died Saturday afternoon at John Peter Smith Hospital, where he had been hospitalized since Oct. 29.

The Tarrant County medical examiner's office ruled that he died from a perforated dissection of the thoracic aorta.

Denham had been in custody since March 22, when he was arrested in Marshall on warrants in connection with the two March attacks.

He was accused of punching and choking a homeless woman March 17 at an east Fort Worth campsite for transients. The woman told police that she had played dead so that he would stop, then walked to a fast food restaurant in Richland Hills for help after he left.

Early the next morning, officials allege, Denham, armed with a knife, entered a Richland Hills home and raped a woman after tying her up. Police say he then stole the woman's pickup, which was later found in Duncanville.

Tarrant County court records show that Denham was indicted in June on charges of theft, aggravated sexual assault, burglary of a habitation with intent to commit a felony, unlawful restraint and attempted murder in connection with the separate attacks.

He was being held on the jail's medical floor until Oct. 29, when he called for help using the emergency intercom and was transported to JPS for further treatment.

"Evidently he had a pretty lengthy history of heart problems," said Bob Knowles, executive chief deputy over the Tarrant County Sheriff's Department confinement bureau.

Denham had been convicted in 1991 of sodomy, kidnapping and sex abuse, for which he'd been sentenced to 100 months in prison. In Tarrant County, he'd been convicted of misdemeanor theft and unauthorized use of a vehicle, a state jail felony.

His death was the second of a Tarrant County inmate in recent weeks.

On Oct. 28, a Poolville man was pronounced dead after being found unresponsive in his cell on the jail's medical floor.

Jason Maddux, 29, had been charged with possession of a controlled substance after his Oct. 16 arrest by Fort Worth police. Knowles said Maddux was on the medical floor for treatment of issues involving withdrawal and seizures.

The manner and cause of his death were still undetermined Monday.


Jail inmate found hanged in detention center

By Elizabeth Piazza The Daily Times

Inmate Michael Carey kills himself following sexual assault allegations involving woman, teen

November 5, 2010

STERLING - A prisoner, who Denver Police said Wednesday has been linked by DNA to two sexual assaults more than 10 years ago, has been found dead inside his cell at the Sterling Correctional Center.

Investigators tell 9Wants to Know he committed suicide.

A Department of Corrections spokesperson could not confirm how he died but says DOC is not investigating the death as suspicious.

Carey died about 1:20 p.m.

9Wants to Know aired a story Wednesday which detailed allegations that Michael Carey, 51, forced a 15-year-old to perform a sex act on him after picking her up on Lincoln Street near downtown on Dec. 1, 1997.

Denver Police say DNA linked Carey to that crime this year.
A department spokesman also said DNA linked Carey to the sexual assault of a woman near Quincy and Wadsworth on April 2, 1998. The victim says a man hit her with his car, forced her inside his vehicle and made her perform a sex act.

At one point during the alleged assault, the victim says the suspect had to move his vehicle because he thought someone was coming.

Denver Police asked the Denver District Attorney's Office to file two counts of first degree sex assault and one count of second degree kidnapping.

Department spokesman Lt. Matthew Murray told 9Wants to Know the department has strong reason to believe the suspect victimized other people before he was sent to prison in 2000.

A member of his family told 9Wants to Know Thursday that she does not believe the allegations.

"He was a good person. What the police said about him wasn't true," family member Elaine Lotito said.

Lotito said before he went to prison he often did chores for elderly people in his neighborhood near W 62nd Ave. & Federal Blvd.

DOC records show Carey was in prison after drug, theft and menacing convictions. A Denver Police Department spokesman told 9Wants to Know that Carey had assaulted a police officer in Adams County. 

Saginaw Correctional Facility prisoner dies

November 10, 2010
Terry Camp

Michigan State Police are looking into what investigators are calling a suspicious death at a Mid-Michigan prison.

An inmate was found unconscious in his Saginaw Correctional Facility cell Tuesday morning. He was pronounced dead at an area hospital.

The cause of death is an overdose of an illicit drug.

Investigators are trying to determine two things: How the inmate was injected with the illegal drug and how the drug got into the prison in the first place.

The Department of Corrections confirms 22-year-old Brian Goodricke of Clio is the inmate who was found unconscious in his Level 2 cell Tuesday morning.

Goodricke was in prison on breaking and entering and drug convictions. An autopsy indicates he died from an overdose of an illicit drug, possibly heroin.

It's believed Goodricke injected himself or someone else injected him with the drug via a syringe, but one was not found in his prison cell.

"We are vigilant against all the ways that people may try to bring drugs into correction facilities," said John Cordell of the Department of Corrections.

Cordell says it's very rare that an inmate dies from a drug overdose inside a prison. Goodricke was a Level 2 prisoner, a low security risk and would have been able to have contact with visitors.

If investigators can find out who brought the drugs into the prison, it's possible that person or persons could face homicide charges.

"There is the possibility where drugs could get passed from a visitor to a prisoner in a visiting room," Cordell said. "We utilize staff assets to make sure that doesn't happen."

"It's unfortunate, but it can happen," said Saginaw County Sheriff Bill Federspiel.

Federspiel says people have tried to smuggle drugs into the county jail.

"We only have so many resources, and I know in Freeland, they only have so many resources," he said.

"We don't have enough corrections officers in the prison," said State Rep. Ken Horn.

"We are spending millions of dollars in substance abuse programs inside of our corrections system. There is no reason in the world that drugs should be passing through our jail system."

The Michigan State Police Department is investigating.

Jail inmate commits suicide

JUNEAU, Wisconsin — A 45-year-old Watertown man killed himself in the Dodge County Jail last week.

Dodge County Sheriff Todd Nehls said Kerry Sayles was pronounced dead Saturday at University Hospital and Clinics in Madison. Jail workers found Sayles hanging from a torn bed sheet in his jail cell around 12:20 p.m. on Nov. 12. Sayles was still alive when jail staff checked on him at 11:42 a.m., Nehls said.

"I would describe (Sayles) as being very determined," Nehls said. "And if you're determined to take your life, you'll find a way to execute that plan and be successful."

Security staff immediately began resuscitative efforts on Sayles, who still had a pulse when he was transported to Beaver Dam Community Hospital and later to Madison.

While staff has thwarted numerous suicide attempts by inmates over the years, this is the first successful suicide in the facility since it opened in 2001, Nehls said. The jail houses nearly 500 inmates.

Security staff at the Dodge County Jail perform rounds to visually check on inmates every 40 minutes. Those identified with emotional or suicidal tendencies are placed on suicide observation status and are physically checked every 15 minutes. Many of those holding cells are also equipped with cameras, Nehls said.

"We had no reason to believe that (Sayles) was suicidal when he was taken into custody a month ago on a probation and parole violation," Nehls said.

Sayles was placed in the Dodge County Jail Oct. 22 after he was charged with two misdemeanor counts of resisting and obstructing an officer and disorderly conduct.

"This wasn't the first time he had been booked into our facility," Nehls said.

Despite diligent efforts of staff, some inmates manage to elude detection and are able to carry out a suicide, said Deputy Chief Mark Strand of the Fond du Lac County Sheriff's Department.

Strand was the jail administrator at the Fond du Lac County Jail in 2001 when inmate James E. Taylor committed suicide in his jail cell. The accused rapist was found hanging in his cell with the ripped out elastic cord of his jail pants tied around his neck.

At the time, Taylor was being held in a cell in the old part of the jail where inmates were still able to turn lights off and on in their respective cells, Strand said.

"He had planned on doing this, and had shut the lights off. And before the officer could get to him, (Taylor) had succeeded," Strand said of the facility's only inmate suicide.

Following Taylor's death, Strand said the Sheriff's Department conducted an internal investigation and invited inspectors from the Criminal Investigation unit of the state Department of Justice and facilities inspectors from the Department of Corrections to perform independent investigations.

"We had all sorts of checks and balances. And even though a lot of things are done, policies are followed and the staff does a terrific job with all the responsibilities they have, those things (suicide) can still happen and do happen," Strand said.

In the wake of Sayles' death, Nehls said an investigation is under way to review policies and procedures at the jail.

"I think that's a natural thing for any department to do, especially when you have a catastrophic event like this," Nehls said. "And to us it's a catastrophic event. We want people to understand that if your loved one or family member is incarcerated in our facility, that they're safe and secure and that nothing will happen to them."


Cause of Jail inmate's death remains unknown

Authorities looking to toxicology tests after autopsy can't determine cause.

November 19, 2010
Pueblo Chieftain

Pueblo, Colorado - Results of toxicology tests likely could explain how a 42-year-old woman died Wednesday in Pueblo County jail.

Results of an autopsy performed Thursday on Kerry Denise Davis did not determine her exact cause of death, Pueblo County Coroner James Kramer said.

"It didn't show any trauma, no injuries, no hemorrhage. We will have to wait for toxicology (results) for a final determination of cause and manner of death," Kramer said.

Davis, aka Cox, died early Wednesday inside the jail's intake facility.

She was arrested Sunday and was recently placed on suicide watch after making remarks to harm herself, Sheriff Kirk Taylor said.

Suicidal inmates are often placed in the intake area for observation.

Sheriff Kirk Taylor said Davis' death, which was investigated by the 10th Judicial District's Critical Incident Team, appears to be a result of a medical issue.

Taylor said jail staff were aware she had a medical problem and were treating her accordingly.

Davis was arrested on a misdemeanor theft warrant stemming from a 2008 incident where she, her husband and son stole tools and equipment from Sears, according to court documents.

The CIT group is tasked with probing in-custody deaths and serious incidents involving local law enforcement.

Jail inmate commits suicide

Darryl Bauer - News Anchor
November 17, 2010

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio--An inmate died after hanging himself in the Clark County Jail Wednesday morning. 

The man's name has not been released.

Sheriff Gene Kelly says the man was discovered about 9:20 a.m. in his third floor cell.  Emergency crews were called and transported the man to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.  

Kelly adds the inmate had been checked by deputies 20 minutes before.

It is unclear what the inmate used to hang himself with. Kelly says they're conducting a thorough investigation.

State: Jailers failed to properly monitor inmate

Associated Press - November 23, 2010 

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The Minnesota Department of Corrections says Ramsey County jailers failed to properly monitor an inmate who strangled himself while in custody.

Fifty-5-year-old Patrick McHugh was accused of killing his sister, brother-in-law and niece July 16 at their St. Paul home. He killed himself Aug. 20 in his Ramsey County Jail cell.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports the DOC's review of jail standards concluded jailers failed to check on McHugh every 30 minutes as required by state law.

The Ramsey County Sheriff's Department did not comment on the DOC's review.

Tulare County Jail inmate hangs himself

Nov. 24, 2010

Inmate at Yates County Jail found hanging in cell

November 27, 2010
Rochester, New York

Aaron J. Shehu, 17, was discovered unconscious, hanging in his jail cell by a Corrections Officer making routine rounds at the Yates County jail shortly after midnight Saturday.

Police say Shehu had a bedsheet tied around his neck and then to the bars of his cell.

Officers at the jail deployed emergency, life-saving measures on Shehu until the arrival of the Penn Yann Volunteer Ambulance, but the inmate was pronounced dead at the Soldiers and Sailors Hospital in Penn Yann at 1:15 a.m.

The NYS Commission of Corrections requires an autopsy to be conducted for any in-custody death that occurs in a correction facility.

There is currently no evidence of foul play in the death, and the investigation is continuing.

Inmate killed in downtown San Diego Jail

The attack occurred about 1:30 p.m. at the jail on Front Street, and the victim died about an hour later at UCSD Medical Center, the county Medical Examiner’s Office said.

The name of the inmate who was killed was not released. The Medical Examiner’s Office said he was a 46-year-old man from Kingsburg, in the Fresno area.

Sheriff’s homicide detectives investigated but did not release any details about the incident.

Inmate Charged With Murder For Stabbing Serial DUI Offender

Frank Anthony Souza is suspected of killing Edward Schaefer, 44, who had recently been sentenced for hitting Melody and Aaron Osheroff with his motorcycle when he was stabbed in the prison's Badger Section exercise yard on July 26.

Melody was killed and Aaron Osheroff lost his right leg after Schaefer hit them in a Novato crosswalk while driving drunk on May 27, 2009, the jury found. He had nine prior DUI convictions dating back to age 17.

Schaefer was serving a 24-years-to-life prison sentence when he was stabbed in the neck and chest with a makeshift weapon, the state corrections department said.

He was taken to Marin General Hospital, where he died.

He had apologized to the Osheroffs' family at his sentencing, saying he was devastated when he learned what happened after the effects of morphine he received for injuries sustained in the crash wore off four days later.

The district attorney's office obtained a criminal indictment against Souza on Friday and today arrested him for first-degree murder with two special circumstances: lying in wait and prior first-degree murder.

Souza, 31, was already serving a 60-years-to-life sentence for killing a homeless man, 59-year-old John Carl Riggins, in 2007 in San Jose, according to the state corrections department.

He was also charged today with felony assault by a state prison inmate serving a life term and felony possession of a stabbing instrument in a penal institution, the district attorney's office said.

He faces life in prison without the possibility of parole or is eligible for the death penalty if convicted of all charges.

Souza will appear in court on Friday to receive a copy of the indictment and have legal representation assigned. 

Bexar County Jail inmate found dead in cell

By Eva Ruth Moravec

A Bexar County Jail inmate hanged himself early Monday, becoming the third inmate to apparently commit suicide this year.

Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Linda Tomasini said a guard doing routine checks found Mark Montoya, 22, hanging in his cell by a bed sheet just before 1 a.m.

The guard summoned help and cut Montoya down, according to a department news release. Medical staff conducted CPR, but Montoya was pronounced dead in his cell at 1:35 a.m. Monday.

Montoya was not on suicide precautions but had requested and was granted protective custody, which means a guard would escort him to and from his cell, Tomasini said.

According to First Assistant District Attorney Cliff Herberg, Montoya was indicted for aggravated sexual assault of a child in 2008 in connection with an incident that took place in December of 2007. The victim of the sexual assault, a girl who was then 12, told San Antonio police she and Montoya met on a phone chat line, Herberg said. According to police, the girl asked Montoya to pick her up and the two had sexual intercourse at his grandmother's house.

Her father saw Montoya drop her off at her home and chased him, officials said. The girl told an acquaintance about the sexual encounter and police were notified.

A grand jury indicted Montoya and he was arrested in April of 2008. He was out on bail until he pleaded guilty on Nov. 16 and was sentenced to eight years in jail. The next day, he asked for protective custody, Tomasini said.

“He had requested to be assigned to protective custody because of his charge ... because inmates will find out, particularly in a case of an aggravated sexual assault,” she said.

According to the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, the Bexar County Jail is in compliance with state law. As is policy, Bexar County Jail officials notified the state commission about the death Monday morning.

Five inmates committed suicide in the jail last year, the Express-News has reported. That total was more than three times the national average. As a result of the spike, Sheriff Amadeo Ortiz requested a national suicide prevention expert visit the jail and conduct a study to determine which, if any, policies or practices should be changed. 

Female inmate dies at Richmond Jail

A female Richmond City Jail inmate has died.

Janice Motto, 49, became unresponsive Tuesday night as she was being prepared for transport to the hospital after she had been showing "signs of unusual behavior," according to a news release issued yesterday afternoon by Sheriff C.T. Woody Jr.

On Nov. 16, Motto was turned over to the Richmond Jail from another jail to serve a sentence for charges of petit larceny and prostitution, said city sheriff's Maj. Jerry Baldwin.

The Sheriff's Office said an autopsy and investigation into the death are under way and that there was no indication of foul play.

Jail inmate complaining of illness dies in Waterloo

The Des Moines Register • December 1, 2010

Waterloo, Iowa. — A Black Hawk County Jail inmate died today after reporting that he felt ill, authorities said.

Justin Ray Johnson, 18, of Waterloo told a deputy at about 2 p.m. that he wasn't feeling well, according to a news release from the county sheriff's office. The deputy called an ambulance after seeing Johnson was having trouble breathing.

Johnson died at Allen Hospital in Waterloo. He had been held on an aggravated assault charge since Nov. 9.

The sheriff's office said the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation has been contacted for an independent investigation.

Inmate found dead at Wyandotte County Jail

Kansas City Star
James Hart
December 3, 2010

An inmate was found dead in his cell at the Wyandotte County Adult Detention Center about 7:48 p.m., with a sheet wrapped around his neck, the sheriff’s department said. The man’s name hasn’t been released yet.

Jail inmate dies after having trouble breathing

December 06, 2010
Bay City News, Inc.

A Sonoma County jail inmate died Sunday morning after he complained of having difficulty breathing, a Sonoma County sheriff's lieutenant said.

Brian Leonard Gittings, 44, of Santa Rosa, told a correctional deputy at 4:20 a.m. that he was struggling to breathe, Lt. Steve Brown said.

The deputy called for medical assistance but Gittings' condition worsened and he was given CPR, Brown said.

Paramedics arrived and continued CPR, and Gittings was taken to Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Santa Rosa where he was pronounced dead at 5:19 a.m. Sunday.

On Nov. 25, Gittings had been taken to Sutter Medical Center in Santa Rosa after complaining of abdominal pain, Brown said. He was evaluated at the hospital and then returned to the jail, Brown said.

Gittings was in custody on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and violation of probation.

An autopsy is scheduled for this morning.

Stearns County Jail inmate's death considered a suicide

Associated Press

ST. CLOUD, Minn. — The death of a Stearns County Jail inmate appears to be suicide.

Chief Deputy Bruce Bechtold says 28-year-old Kyle Allan Baxter-Jensen died of apparently self-inflicted cuts.

Baxter-Jensen was found dead shortly after 8 a.m. Saturday. He was under observation because of concerns about previous incidents that the chief deputy would not comment on.

The St. Cloud Times reports Baxter-Jensen was booked into jail in November on a DWI charge. The sheriff's office is investigating.

Inmate, 46, found dead in Sacramento County Jail cell

December 12, 2010
Lesha Ruffin

SACRAMENTO,CA - An inmate was found dead inside of his Sacramento County jail cell Sunday morning, according to authorities.

The 46-year-old inmate, whose name was not released, was found unresponsive just after 10 a.m., said Sgt. Tim Curran with the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department. The jail's medical staff as well as fire department paramedics performed CPR on the man, but were unsuccessful. Curran said the inmate was pronounced dead at 10:32 a.m.

Investigators said the death does not appear suspicious. The man had been in custody since Aug. 22, facing charges of resisting arrest, burglary, grand theft, possession of stolen property and evading a peace officer by driving in a reckless manner, said Curran.

The Sacramento County Sheriff's Departmant will conduct a thorough inmate-death investigation in accordance with department procedures and state laws. 

Fulton Jail inmate found dead

An inmate was found dead Monday morning at the Fulton County Jail (Georgia), authorities said.

Fulton County sheriff's spokeswoman Tracy Flanagan said the 33-year-old man told officials he was homeless when he was booked into the jail on a criminal trespassing charge earlier this month.

She said the inmate "was chronically ill, and deputies had been checking on him through the night."

Just before 6:30 a.m., he was discovered deceased.

The inmate's name is being withheld until relatives are notified.

Tehama County Jail inmate dies shortly after arraignment

DN Staff Writer

In California a Tehama County Jail inmate died in custody Wednesday less than two hours after he was arraigned on charges of rape by force or fear and inflicting corporal injury on a spouse, cohabitant or child.

Tehama County Superior Court records show William Joseph Costa, 30, of Red Bluff was arraigned at 1:15 p.m. Wednesday and according to a Tehama County Sheriff 's press release Costa was found hanging from a sheet tied to the bars of his single cell about 3 p.m.

Officers immediately responded to an alert by an inmate of the situation, placing Costa on the floor and beginning CPR with assistance from jail medical staff, the release said.

Costa, who had been arrested by Red Bluff Police at 9:33 a.m. Monday at the Golden Crest Mobile Home Park, was taken to St. Elizabeth Community Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

Costa had been cleared for incarceration and had not shown any type of distress during a security check at 2:03 p.m., the release said.

The incident, which involved a 31-year-old woman, was initially reported at 9:13 a.m. Monday as a disturbance, said Sgt. Michael Graham. Red Bluff Police logs show someone reported that the victim told them she had been thrown down and choked.

Costa and the victim have two children in common, a 1- year-old and a 5- month-old, both of whom were home at the time of the incident, Graham said. The 5- month-old was in a crib in the living room where the incident took place.

Man pleads guilty to criminally negligent homicide in July death of Jail inmate

December 18, 2010
Dennis Thompson, Jr.

A Marion County Jail inmate pleaded guilty Thursday to criminally negligent homicide in the death of a fellow inmate in a recreation yard fight in July.

In his plea deal, Robert Dailey admitted to causing the death of Robert Haws. Dailey entered his plea before Marion County Circuit Judge Susan Tripp.

Dailey and Haws got into a fight July 13 after bumping into each other in the rec yard and exchanging words, prosecutors said. Dailey punched Haws in the face, causing Haws to fall to the ground and hit his head.

Jail officials discovered Haws covered in blood and vomit on the rec yard floor, leaning against a wall. Dailey was trying to clean the blood and vomit with a towel.

Haws received treatment at Salem Hospital, where doctors discovered he had a serious brain injury. He died July 19.

Dailey's sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 29.


County Jail inmate jumps to his death

A Milwaukee County Jail inmate apparently committed suicide Saturday, the sheriff's office reported.

As other inmates watched, the 44-year-old man leaped from a mezzanine about 7 a.m. on Christmas morning, the sheriff's office said in a news release. Deputies tried to revive him until Fire Department personnel arrived and took him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 10:20 a.m., the sheriff's office said.

The inmate was being held on $10,000 bail on charges of sexual assault of a child. The sheriff's office is investigating the incident.

Inmate dies at Taylor County Jail

December 22, 2010
Jaime Adame

A 54-year-old Abilene man was pronounced dead at 6:05 a.m. Friday morning at the Taylor County Jail after jailers found him unresponsive, the Texas Department of Public Safety said in a news release Wednesday.

Daven Jon Ellis had been in jail since his arrest in August on suspicion of possessing child pornography, and “was in a single cell by himself” when found by jailers, said Sgt. John Cummins of the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office.

“We’re not giving any detail on the cause of death at this point until the autopsy comes back,” Cummins said. The sheriff’s office has asked the Texas Rangers to assist in the investigation, as is commonplace for deaths of people in custody of authorities. The Texas Rangers are a part of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Barbara Anderson, a sister of Ellis who lives near Buffalo, N.Y., said she learned of her brother’s death from Ellis’ parole officer.

“I was told that he was found when he was checked right at 5:18, before chow,” Anderson said. “They found him in his cell and it appeared to be self-inflicted wounds, but he didn’t elaborate on what that was.”

She noted that her brother died on his birthday.

Cummins said he had no information about why Ellis was in a cell alone or if Ellis was under heightened supervision compared to the general jail population.

The death is the seventh since 2005 involving an inmate in custody of the Taylor County Jail, including four deaths in 2005, according to the Texas attorney general’s office.

Most recently, an inmate died in September 2009 as the result of a perforated ulcer that became infected; another inmate died in March 2008 from a combination of diabetes, renal failure and internal bleeding.

The jail has about 460 inmates, Cummins said.

Some have criticized jail conditions, including a former volunteer jail chaplain who has sued Sheriff Les Bruce, alleging retaliation after being barred from visiting the jail to speak with inmates. The lawsuit by outspoken critic Lance Voorhees remains pending in U.S. Federal District Court in Abilene.

Anderson said she has read the jail criticism online and is frustrated by a lack of information provided to her about the investigation.

Anderson said she was promised access to the final autopsy report, but she said she wanted more information now.

“If there’s nothing to hide, then why can’t they tell me things?” Anderson said. “The way I’m thinking, if it was just cut-and-dry then why can’t they give me the information, a copy of the preliminary autopsy?”

In the news release, the DPS said a final autopsy report from the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office could take as long as two months.

A police affidavit states that “numerous pictures of nude children” were found on Ellis’ cell phone after Abilene police executed a search warrant on Ellis’ apartment.

Ellis had served a long stint in prison earlier, Anderson noted. In 1985, a Taylor County jury convicted Ellis of burglarizing a U.S. Naval Reserve Center in Abilene, sentencing Ellis to 30 years in prison.

Anderson, 46, said she hadn’t seen her brother in person in about 15 years, but they spoke occasionally by phone, most recently in March.

She said her brother had grown children but no relationship with them. He was close to a longtime girlfriend who lives in New York, Anderson said.

She said she was surprised to learn of his arrest on suspicion of possessing child pornography and wondered if someone else could have used her brother’s phone. She recalled his reaction about 30 years ago when she told him she had been sexually abused by her father, Ellis’ stepfather.

“He wanted to come up here and kill him,” Anderson said, adding that “anything to do with hurting a kid, it sickened him.”

As children in New York, “we grew up in a very, very abusive home, and he pretty much got the worst of it,” Anderson said.

     **Updated Article**

Answers In Taylor County Jail Inmate Death

Jefferson County Jail Inmate Commits Suicide

Death Remains Under Investigation

December 27, 2010

JEFFERSON, Wis. -- A Jefferson County Jail inmate has committed suicide. It's the second inmate suicide at the facility this year.

Sheriff's Capt. Jerry Haferman said a guard discovered the 31-year-old Watertown man in the jail at 7 p.m. Sunday. The man was not in his cell, but in another part of the jail.

The man's name is being withheld until relatives are notified. The death remains under investigation.

Haferman told the Watertown Daily Times another suicide was committed at the jail in January. He said that before this year, it had been eight to 10 years since an inmate committed suicide.

More to the story..........

Jail Inmate Identified in Apparent Suicide

December 28, 2010
Associated Press

JEFFERSON, Wis. (AP) -- Jefferson County authorities have identified the inmate who died of an apparent suicide over the weekend.

Sheriff's Capt. Jerry Haferman says the man was 30-year-old Clint James Tourbier of Watertown.

The deputy says Tourbier was found unresponsive Sunday evening. Emergency responders weren't able to revive him and he was pronounced dead at the jail.

Haferman says the medical examiner determined the cause of death to be asphyxia due to hanging.

Haferman says the inmate was booked into jail Wednesday for felony charges of third-degree sexual assault and bail jumping, as well as misdemeanor battery. Tourbier was being held without bond pending a court hearing Tuesday.

The deputy says Tourbier was not under any type of special watch.


Inmate beaten to death

The brother of an inmate beaten to death inside the Lawrence County Jail said officials are partly to blame for his sibling’s demise.

Lawrence County authorities are investigating the circumstances surrounding the beating death of 43-year-old James Lester Heatherly, who died Christmas Eve.

A press release sent out by the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department Monday states an investigation revealed an altercation occurred between Heatherly and at least two other inmates, identified as Mark Allen Whitt and Jason David Wilburn.

“Evidence gathered in this case has also led investigators to believe that other inmates are involved and could possibly face criminal charges,” the press release states.

Kenneth Heatherly, the victim’s younger brother, said somebody at the jail should have noticed something was wrong.

“How can four people attack one inside the jail and nobody hears nothing?” he asked rhetorically. “I felt like they were slow in reacting. They could have saved his life.”

Heatherly said authorities told the family the fight occurred after the attacking inmates blocked a camera and carried out the assault behind a closed door.

No charges had been filed as of Monday.

NewsChannel 5 reported James Heatherly may have been killed after failing to keep his side of a cell clean.

“Being a slob ain’t no reason to be killed,” Kenneth Heatherly said.

After the incident, James Heatherly told jail staff he had fallen and complained of a headache, his brother said.

“They didn’t know about it until he came to them,” Kenneth Heatherly said.

Medical staff about the jail were skeptical about James Heatherly’s story and admitted him to Crockett Hospital Thursday night. He was later transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville where he died. His brother said James Heatherly died after doctors were unable to stop bleeding from a lacerated liver.

Several attempts to contact Sheriff Jimmy Brown were unsuccessful Monday.

Kenneth Heatherly said the family wants answers on how his brother’s beating was allowed to go unnoticed.

“I’m just wondering what happened and how they let it happen,” he said. “And are they going to change the way they run things here before it happens to somebody else?”

The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation will present to the case to a Lawrence County grand jury sometime in January.




Arizona Jail inmate commits suicide, officials say

December 29, 2010
Associated Press

TUCSON - Authorities say an inmate in the Pima County jail is dead after committing suicide.

The county Sheriff's Department says Corrections Officers found 31-year-old Paul Anthony Casteldeoro dead in his holding cell Tuesday. Officials say he hung himself with a bed sheet in his holding cell.

The Arizona Daily Star says Casteldeoro had been in jail since Nov. 5. He was booked on various felony charges including aggravated assault, armed robbery, a weapons violation and a narcotics related charge.

Man who attempted suicide Monday in Jail has died

December 30, 2010

An inmate awaiting sentencing on a rape and kidnapping conviction died Wednesday evening at Benefis Health System after an attempted suicide Monday afternoon.

Deputy Cascade County Attorney Josh Racki confirmed that Phillip J. Humeyumptewa died sometime Wednesday evening after spending two days in the intensive care unit at Benefis in critical condition. He was declared brain dead, according to the county attorney's office.

Humeyumptewa was found Monday unconscious in his cell some eight minutes after a guard at the jail had checked on him. The inmate hanged himself with a bed sheet and was transported to the emergency room after jail staff and emergency responders managed to restore his heart beat.

Humeyumptewa suffered cardiac arrest as a result of the hanging. A motion filed by the County Attorney's Office Tuesday stated that Humeyumptewa was brain dead. The state moved to release Humeyumptewa on his own recognizance and stated that the his end-of-life decisions were to made by his family.

Humeyumptewa was convicted in September in the kidnapping and rape of a woman in Great Falls last year. He was in the jail awaiting sentencing, which was set for Jan. 20.

Man who bit CHP Officer dies in Jail

December 28, 2010
Katherine Jarvis
Daily Democrat 

A Woodland man who bit a CHP officer while resisting arrest has committed suicide at the Monroe Detention Center.

Juan Antonio Bravo Lopez, 19, died of asphyxia by hanging Sunday evening, said Yolo County Chief Deputy Coroner Robert LaBrash. He was found at 5:10 p.m. in the jail and transported to Woodland Memorial Hospital where he was declared dead.

LaBrash said Bravo Lopez was not under any special watch, such as a suicide watch.

Bravo Lopez has family in the area although his mother lives in Mexico, LaBrash said.

California Highway Patrol said Bravo Lopez was arrested at 8:07 p.m. Friday after he tried to evade officers by foot and car and eventually fought an officer and bit a California Highway Patrol sergeant.

Bravo Lopez was observed speeding westbound on County Road 31 west of CR-95 at 89 miles per hour, the CHP reported. A traffic stop was then initiated as Bravo Lopez attempted to flee the scene, driving at a high speed with his lights off.

After driving almost a mile to Russell Boulevard, Bravo Lopez stopped on his own as an arrest was attempted. He fought with an officer and attempted to run away, according to CHP, and force was used to try and gain compliance.

Bravo Lopez refused to comply and continued to resist arrest, fleeing on foot. The CHP said a woman driving a green Jeep stopped because Bravo Lopez was in the road. Bravo tried to enter the Jeep from the passenger side. The woman fled eastbound on Russell Boulevard.

Several CHP and Winters units assisted in making the arrest.

When Bravo Lopez was eventually transported to Sutter General Hospital for medical clearance, he continued to struggle with officers and bit a CHP sergeant in the upper arm, CHP said.

Bravo Lopez was later booked into the Yolo County Jail on charges of resisting arrest, battery on a police officer and carjacking. An investigation is ongoing regarding his suicide.

The last Yolo County Jail inmate to commit suicide was David Bradley Van Buren on June 5. The Davis transient used a bed sheet to commit suicide at the Monroe Detention Center. He died of asphyxiation from hanging one day before his 34th birthday.

Van Buren had been arrested June 3 at the Motel 6 in Davis for intoxication which was in violation of his parole. His parole was from a 2008 felony charge of theft or unauthorized use of a vehicle.

Sheriff: Okla inmate likely died from heart attack

Associated Press
December 28, 2010

SALLISAW, Okla. (AP) - Sallisaw County Sheriff Ron Lockhart says it appears a 36-year-old jail inmate died after suffering a heart attack while in custody.

Inmate David Dewayne Collins died Saturday at the county jail. Lockhart tells the Southwest Times Record that preliminary indication from the Oklahoma state Medical Examiner's office indicates that Collins had a heart attack.

Lockhart says an inmate in the cell with Collins told authorities that Collins had complained of being light-headed and hot before collapsing about 1:30 p.m. Lockhart says jail staff members had checked on both inmates about 15 minutes before Collins collapsed.

Collins was convicted of arson and first-degree manslaughter in the Sept. 22 death of 20-year-old Shannon Southern. Her body was found by firefighters at her Muldrow home. An autopsy determined she had been shot.

21-year-old Ballard Co. inmate dies

December 30, 2010
By Heartland News

BALLARD COUNTY, KY (KFVS) - Kentucky State Police are investigating the death of a 21-year-old inmate of the Ballard County Detention Center.

Desmond Dunlow of LaCenter died Thursday after he was found unresponsive in the jail.

He was pronounced dead at 3 a.m. by the McCracken County Coroner.

The coroner says preliminary autopsy results found no trauma and the cause of death is undetermined due to a possible medical situation.

Anchorage Jail inmate killed in jump from upper level

By Kyle Hopkins
January 3rd, 2011

An inmate climbed the railing of a walkway and jumped to his death inside the Anchorage jail over the weekend, corrections officials say.

It was the fifth time an inmate has committed suicide by jumping from heights inside an Alaska corrections building since the state began tracking the statistic in 1984, said Laura Brooks, director of behavioral health for the Corrections Department.

Ralph Kosbruk, 44, of Anchorage had been taken into custody at about 11 a.m. on New Year's Day for a parole violation, said Department of Corrections spokesman Richard Schmitz.

A few hours later, Kosbruk jumped from a second-tier balcony at Anchorage Correctional Center East, Schmitz said. He was pronounced dead at the scene, troopers say.

No foul play is suspected, according to troopers.

When new inmates arrive at a jail, they're asked if they feel suicidal or have a history of suicide attempts, Brooks said.

She wouldn't say how Kosbruk answered those questions, citing medical privacy laws.

But, she said, "I can tell you that if someone came in and made statements that raise any kind of suspicion, they would have been put on suicide watch for a minimum of 24 hours."

Kosbruk was not on suicide watch, she said.

A registered sex offender, he was convicted in 2005 of attempted sexual abuse of a minor, according to the state Department of Public Safety sex offender registry.

The state medical examiner's office has requested an autopsy, troopers said. Schmitz couldn't immediately say what Kosbruk did to violate parole.

The death is at least the second such incident in fewer than three years.

In October 2008, a 46-year-old man accused of setting his hotel room on fire died after diving from a second-story catwalk at the jail, troopers said at the time.

Inmates who are considered at risk for suicide are sometimes placed in an acute care psychiatric unit that -- unlike most housing units in Alaska jails -- has wire mesh on the upper tier that prevents people throwing things or jumping to the floor below, Brooks said.

Inmate Dies A Day After Booking In OC Jail

January 3, 2011

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — An inmate was found dead in her Orange County jail cell less than a day after her arrest on suspicion of drug possession.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department reported Monday that 46-year-old Cynthia Kaye Drury was found unresponsive in a single-person cell in Santa Ana on New Year’s Eve.

The department says the Norwalk woman was arrested a day earlier by Anaheim police on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance.

The cause of death was not immediately reported. A message seeking comment was left with the Sheriff’s Department.

A message was left with the district attorney’s office, which is investigating the death.


Jail Inmate In Ohio Dead In Apparent Suicide

Authorities in Ohio say an inmate who apparently jumped from a second-floor ledge in a suicide attempt has died.

An autopsy is planned Wednesday on the body of 51-year-old Michael O'Neill of Akron.

He apparently jumped Sunday over a Summit County jail ledge to a concrete floor one level down. He died late Tuesday.

The Akron Beacon Journal says the man told officials he was trying to kill himself.

He was locked up Friday on charges of criminal trespassing and being drunk and disorderly.

GBI: Jail inmate death an apparent suicide

January 6, 2011
The Augusta Chronicle

An inmate appears to have committed suicide at the Charles B. Webster Detention Center on Phinizy Road between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. Wednesday, according to Georgia Bureau of Investigations Special Agent in Charge Mike Ayers.

Ayers said the inmate, whose name was not released, committed suicide within a 10 to 15 minute window while deputies handed out prescription medications for the night. He couldn't go into specifics while the investigation is ongoing, but said the inmate hanged himself using items in his cell that were not contraband.

An autopsy and toxicology results will indicate for sure whether the inmate committed suicide, Ayers said.

Inmate charged in Jail

January 7, 2011

An Escambia County Jail inmate has been charged with manslaughter in connection to the death of fellow inmate.

Brandon Ryan Switzer, 32, is charged in connection to the Dec. 17 death of Jon Gipson, another inmate.

Investigators say Switzer took food from Gipson and punched him in the face, causing him to fall backward onto the floor. Gipson subsequently died from his injuries.

An autopsy performed by the medical examiner’s office determined that Gipson died from blunt force trauma to the head, Sheriff’s Office spokesman Chris Welborn said in a news release.

Switzer was in jail on a revoked bond for previous charges of battery, kidnapping, vehicle theft, failure to appear and numerous traffic offenses.

Those charges stemmed from a Dec. 1 altercation with his girlfriend.

Switzer was accused of battery on his girlfriend before stealing her vehicle, which was occupied by the woman’s infant. Switzer later wrecked the car and abandoned the infant.

The bond for the manslaughter and battery charges was set at $260,000.

Inmate pleads guilty in Jail beating death

January 11, 2011

SANTA ANA – One of nine jail inmates charged with murder for the beating and stomping death of a fellow inmate wrongly identified as a child molester pleaded guilty Tuesday to voluntary manslaughter and other charges and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The October 2006 slaying of John Chamberlain, who was in jail on possession of child pornography charges, prompted an investigative report by The Orange County Register that revealed that one the charged inmates accused a jail deputy of setting up the attack.

It also led to a special Orange County Grand Jury probe that revealed in an April 2008 report widespread negligence by guards at Sheriff's Department jails. No jail officials were charged in connection with Chamberlain's death.

On Tuesday, inmate Michael Garten, 25, became the first of the nine accused inmates to plead guilty pursuant to a plea offer from the Orange County District Attorney's Office. He also pleaded guilty to felony extortion in a separate case, and a probation violation.

Superior Court Judge James A. Stotler then sentenced Garten to 20 years in prison. He was given credit for more than six years already served in custody and will be eligible for parole in about 2016. Garten could have faced a 25-years to life term in state prison had he been convicted of first-degree murder.

Garten, of Santa Ana, was not a ringleader in the attack on Chamberlain, or one of the main assaulters, although he did get in at least one blow on Chamberlain, according to police reports.

"He was not one of the heavy hitters and was not one of the leaders in the inmate hierarchy," said Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh. "We felt this was a fair resolution based on his level of involvement."

Defense attorney Al Stokke also said it was a fair disposition of the case, "especially in light of the possibility that he could have received a 25 years to life term if convicted of first-degree murder. He might never have been paroled."

His guilty plea leaves eight other inmates awaiting trial.

They are Garrett Eugene Aguilar, 28, of Anaheim; Stephen Paul Carlstrom, 42, of Anaheim; Eric Charles Miller, 25, of Huntington Beach; Jared Louis Petrovich, 26, of Tustin; Christopher Teague, 34, of Long Beach; Raul Villafana, 24, of Santa Ana; Miguel Angel Guillen, 48; of Santa Ana, and Jeremy Dezso Culman, 27, of Costa Mesa.

Investigators believe that the group targeted Chamberlain on Oct. 5, 2006 under the mistaken belief that he was a child molester, the worst kind of person in the inmate culture. In fact, Chamberlain was accused of possessing child pornography.

The group attacked Chamberlain in a cell in the Theo Lacey jail and repeatedly punched, kicked and stomped him over a period of time. Garten, according to reports, punched him at least once.

Chamberlain was found bleeding, battered and unconscious, and was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

In March 2007, The Orange County Register published a report detailing how at least one inmate – Petrovich – accused jail deputy Kevin Taylor of instigating the attack by falsely identifying Chamberlain as a child molester. Taylor, who is no longer with the sheriff's department, denied the allegation.

The Register also reported that Taylor told investigators he was watching television in a nearby guard station when a mob of inmates allegedly beat Chamberlain to death.



Fresno Co. Jail inmate who attempted suicide dies

January 19, 2011
Eddie Jimenez
The Fresno Bee

A 55-year-old Fresno County Jail inmate who had been on life support after trying to hang himself in his cell last weekend died Tuesday night, a sheriff's spokesman said.

The man was identified as Allen Dale Anderson of Selma, the county coroner's office said.

Fellow inmates freed Anderson from his suicide attempt about 5:30 p.m. Sunday, then got the attention of jail staff, the sheriff's spokesman said. The man was not breathing, but staff and paramedics performed CPR and revived him.

Anderson was taken to Community Regional Medical Center, where he died shortly before 10 p.m. Tuesday.

He had been in custody since March 28 on various charges.



Death of Boone County inmate under investigation

January 19, 2011

Detectives are investigating the death of Dustin Paul Chasteen, 34, who died by suicide Monday, Jan. 17, in a cell at the Boone County Jail.

Officers who found Chasteen shortly after 3 a.m. conducted CPR and used an automated external defibrillator, efforts continued by Boone County EMS paramedics when they arrived, said Boone County Sheriff Deputy Chris Burcham.

Chasteen was taken to Witham Memorial Hospital, Lebanon, where he was pronounced dead at 3:31 a.m., Burcham said. Chasteen was the sole occupant of a two-man cell,  Burcham said. Foul play is not suspected.

Charges of criminal confinement, battery resulting in bodily injury, and interference with the reporting of a crime were filed against Chasteen after his 2:01 p.m. Jan. 10 arrest by Lebanon Police.

Chasteen admitted to misdemeanor battery resulting in bodily injury in an Aug. 13, plea agreement. After his Jan. 10 arrest, the Boone County Probation Department sought revocation of his probation on that case; he was  scheduled to appear in court on April 21 for that hearing.

Court records showed Chasteen had addresses in Lebanon and Frankfort.

Sheriff reports inmate death

January 19, 2011
Lydia Senn

An inmate in the Floyd County Jail (Georgia) found hanging in his cell Tuesday, Jan. 18, was later pronounced dead at Floyd Medical Center, said Chief Deputy Tom Cald­well.

Caldwell identified the inmate, Darrell Gene Patterson, 32, of 2531 Shorter Ave. He was found by a jail employee, Caldwell said.

Caldwell said he did not know what Patterson had used to hang himself. He was taken to FMC, where he was pronounced dead at about 2:30 p.m.

Caldwell called Patterson’s death sad, but said jail officials are certain “his death occurred by his own hands.”

“The GBI and Floyd County Coroner Barry Henderson have been notified by Sheriff Tim Burkhalter and asked to conduct a full inquiry into the matter already,” Caldwell said.

Henderson said it is procedure after an inmate’s death to notify the GBI and to file a formal inquest. He said a GBI investigation will take three to four months to complete.

The last time a death was recorded at the jail was in 2008. In February of that year, Larry Stokes, 38, a Gordon County inmate being housed at the jail, was found face down on a bunk bed and unresponsive after a fight with his cellmate, Emanuel Steffon Smith. Smith is currently serving a 15-year prison sentence for voluntary manslaughter.

In March 2007, a female inmate, Valerie Purdy Dodd, 50, died after spending three days on life support following a cardiac arrest under restraint at the jail.

According to court testimony, Dodd had to be restrained by jail officials after becoming increasingly combative. She died after being given a shot of an antipsychotic drug called Haldol.

Caldwell said after a GBI investigation into Patterson’s death the sheriff’s office would look at jail policies to see if any changes needed to be made.

Patterson had been booked into the jail Monday after being arrested and charged with burglary, possession of a firearm by convicted felon, obstruction or hindering law enforcement officers, possession of tools for the commission of a crime and parole violation, according to jail records. Patterson had three previous burglary convictions.

Hanging death in Jail investigated

January 19, 2011
By John Futty

The Franklin County sheriff's office is investigating the death of an inmate found hanging in his cell at the Downtown jail last month.

Paul J. Moore, 29, died at Grant Medical Center about an hour after he was discovered Dec. 29 hanging from a bedsheet. Franklin County Coroner Jan Gorniak said her office is reviewing the case, but the death is likely to be ruled a suicide.

Moore was a convicted sex offender awaiting trial for failing to report a change of address, according to Franklin County Common Pleas Court records. Court documents listed his address as Hebron Road in Newark. He had been held at the jail since Aug. 31.

Chief Deputy Steve Martin said Moore was in a single cell and was not on a suicide watch. An incident report indicates that the hanging occurred between 2:01 and 3:39 p.m. He died in the hospital at 4:30 p.m., Gorniak said.

Jail Inmate Found Hanging In His Cell

January 20, 2011

WATERLOO, Iowa -- Authorities said an inmate being held in the Black Hawk County jail has died after being found hanging in his cell.

The sheriff's office said 33-year-old Michael Adair was found just after noon on Thursday. Sheriff's officials said in a news release that jail staff provided emergency medical care and that Adair was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The sheriff's office said his death was a suicide.

Adair was being held on a burglary charge.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation is investigating his death.

Wife seeks $34 million from Newport Beach after husband hangs himself in Jail

January 28, 2011

A Newport Beach woman is seeking tens of millions of dollars in damages from the city, claiming police erroneously arrested her husband who had bipolar disorder. Her husband then killed himself in jail.

Sandy Wedgeworth, 34, and family members filed four claims against Newport Beach this week seeking upward of $34 million for emotional distress, loss of a husband and father, and loss of future earnings.

William Robert Wedgeworth, 43, hanged himself with bedsheets in a Newport Beach Police Department jail cell July 31. Police had arrested him earlier in the day on suspicion of spousal abuse against his wife. She said she wanted her husband to get psychiatrict help, not be arrested.

"This is a sad and tragic loss," said Newport Beach City Atty. David Hunt. "We take it very seriously, and we've done a thorough investigation into the circumstances underlying it. We concluded there was nothing we could've done to prevent it. The jail is safe, and our officers did their job correctly."

Inmate Dies at Sheffield Jail

January 31, 2011

The Alabama Bureau of Investigation is looking into the death of an inmate at the Sheffield City Jail.

According to our news partner, The Times Daily, 32 year old Kenji Simmons was arrested Saturday night for disorderly conduct at Another Level Bar and Grill in Sheffield. 
Police Chief Greg Ray says Simmons was first taken to a hospital where he was treated for a cut. He was then taken to the city jail. About 30 minutes later, other inmates notified jailers that Simmons was ill. Paramdedics were called to the scene, but Simmons died around 5:45 Sunday morning.

An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.

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Inmate death investigated in Utah's Washington County

An inmate died Monday afternoon at the Purgatory jail in Washington County.

Investigators found no sign of foul play in the death of the man, whose body was found in his bed during a security check about 5:30 p.m., said Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Jake Schultz. There is no obvious trauma on the man’s body and no indication he killed himself, Schultz said.

Authorities would not release the man’s name or age until family had been notified, Schultz said. Schultz also would not identify the part of the jail that was housing the man when he died.

A medical examiner took the man’s body to determine the cause of his death. Investigators expected to release more details Tuesday.

    ** UPDATE **

Inmate found dead at Washington County Jail ID’d

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office has identified an inmate found dead in his jail cell cot as Wilbur Moroni Jake, of Cedar City.

Jake, 42, was found unconscious and unresponsive during a 5:15 p.m. security check Monday at the Purgatory Correctional Facility, shortly after he had returned from a day-long work detail, said Chief Deputy Jacob Shultz, who oversees jail operations.

“An emergency medical call was sent out and paramedics were requested. Within minutes, security and medical staff were administering CPR and had deployed [a heart defibrillator],“ Shultz said.

However, paramedics arriving the scene moments later declared Jake dead.

Shultz said the cause of death has not been determined, but initial indications do not suggest either foul play or suicide. The state medical examiner plans an autopsy, which will include toxicology screening.

“The Washington County Sheriff’s Office extends our sincere condolences to Inmate Jake’s family for their loss,” Shultz said.

Jake was a state offender being housed by Washington County under contract with the Utah Department of Corrections. He had felony convictions for burglary and child abuse and neglect, in 1990 and 1998, respectively, and had returned to prison in August 2007 for violating his parole, said Corrections spokesman Steve Gehrke.



Family demands answers after man dies in Harris County Jail’s custody

January 31, 2011
Rucks Russell / 11 News

HOUSTON—Family members of an inmate who died under suspicious circumstances while in custody demanded answers from Harris County officials Monday.

Norman Hicks, 72, died at a Houston hospital on Jan. 22.

Hicks, who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, was jailed on charges of domestic assault on Jan. 7. Jail officials confirmed that on Jan. 16, he was involved in an altercation at the jail. The next day, he was transported to the hospital, where he later died.

“Why would they treat him that way,” asked the inmate’s daughter, Marie Hicks-Fields.

The Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office has not yet determined a cause of death, but family members are convinced Hicks was beaten by a jail employee.

“He had multiple bone fractures in his face and the doctors said he had severe brain trauma,” said the man’s younger daughter, Evangeline Hicks-Campbell.
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office has launched an internal investigation, and spokeswoman Christina Garza said she was limited in what she could reveal.

“I can only confirm that there was an altercation Mr. Hicks was involved with,” said Garza.   “Under the advice of counsel, I can’t get into any more than that.”
A year and a half ago, the U.S. Justice Department issued a scathing report, citing what it called the “alarming rate of jail deaths” in Harris County.
Family members planned to meet with jail officials Tuesday morning.
Local activist Quanell X was planning a major protest in front of the jail on Thursday.

Inmate who killed himself at Fulton Jail identified

A 25-year-old inmate at the Fulton County jail hanged himself Tuesday night.

The inmate, who was identified Wednesday as Emmitt Starr of Atlanta, was transported to Emory University Hospital Midtown after a deputy found him attempting suicide shortly after 7 p.m., said Tracy Flanagan, spokeswoman for the sheriff's office. Starr was pronounced dead just before 8 p.m., she said.

The inmate faced an aggravated stalking charge, Flanagan said.

In September, a 31-year-old inmate at the Fulton jail committed suicide by strangling himself.

Female Jail inmate, 25, died in hospital of unknown cause

February 2, 2011
Robert Allen

A Loveland woman jailed Jan. 6 for failure to appear in court died Sunday while in custody at Poudre Valley Health in Fort Collins.

Tiffany Ann Nobi, 25, was admitted to the hospital Jan. 9 after medical staff at Larimer County Detention Center had trouble waking her, according to a sheriff’s office news release.

The coroner’s office Wednesday had not determined a cause of death.

Doctors were unable to determine what was causing Nobi’s condition, and there were no signs of trauma or injury to her. Initially, doctors were concerned she may have had meningitis, but this has since been ruled out, according to the news release.

Nobi’s arrest was in regard to a 2007 case out of Loveland, in which she was convicted of theft of $1,000 to $20,000. Her probation had been revoked, and she failed to appear in court, according to the online Colorado courts database.

A Loveland police spokesman said Nobi was transient when arrested.

Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith said an inmate hospitalized similar to Nobi ordinarily would be released by the courts on a personal recognizance bond. She faced a “minor charge” and posed “no flight risk,” but Nobi was intubated within a few days of arriving at the hospital, he said.

“She wasn’t conscious to sign a bond,” Smith said.

The sheriff’s office is conducting an internal investigation of the death, as is protocol, according to the news release.

A Facebook profile of Nobi shows her as having attended Poudre High School.

Charles Edward Betts, 53, who was also transient and living in Fort Collins, died Jan. 6 in the jail of apparent cardiac arrest. The coroner’s office on Wednesday had not yet determined his cause of death, either.

Sheriff’s spokesman John Schulz said the two deaths were “totally unrelated,” and the two would have been in “totally separate parts of the jails.”


DA Says No Foul Play in Death of OC Jail Inmate

Female inmate, 26, dies in County Jail (New Hampshire)

Sheriff: Autopsy was inconclusive

February 3, 2011
Maddie Hanna
Monitor Staff

A 26-year-old female inmate died at the Merrimack County jail Tuesday afternoon after she was found unresponsive in her cell, but officials haven't commented on what caused her death.

As of yesterday afternoon, officials also hadn't publicly identified the woman, saying they hadn't yet notified all of her family members.

The woman, who had been in custody since Jan. 25, was nonresponsive when a corrections officer came by her cell Tuesday afternoon to perform a health and welfare check, said Superintendent Ronald White.

White said corrections and medical staff performed lifesaving measures until paramedics arrived. The woman was pronounced dead at 2:28 p.m. Tuesday, he said.

Merrimack County Sheriff Scott Hilliard said an autopsy was performed yesterday, but the medical examiner described the results as inconclusive. Hilliard said his office is conducting an investigation into the woman's death and expects to have more information in the coming days.

White said the last inmate to die in the jail's custody was Gary Gross, a 40-year-old from Concord who hanged himself in his cell in March 2009.

Springdale inmate found dead in Jail

Officers say Steven Herbert was being held in the detox unit Friday morning and asked to use the restroom.

Police found the 40-year old in the bathroom, unconscious and unresponsive; he was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Investigators have sent blood samples to the state crime lab for a toxicology analysis.

Ontario County Jail faulted in inmate suicide

February 6, 2011
Bennett J. Loudon

A state investigation into the suicide death of an inmate at the Ontario County Jail faults county officials.

Bruce Morgan was 43 when he hanged himself on Christmas morning 2009 in his cell with a bed sheet attached to a towel rack about 3 feet off the floor.

Morgan was serving two one-year sentences for drunken driving. He was due to be released on Oct. 22, 2010.

The 11-page report by the New York state Commission of Correction found that: "Despite nearly constant complaints of mental disorder symptoms while incarcerated, (Morgan) received no mental health diagnosis, evaluation or treatment ..."

Much of the report was redacted because of medical privacy laws, according to commission officials. The report was provided to the Democrat and Chronicle in response to a Freedom of Information Law request.

The commission investigators found that Morgan received no mental health screening at the jail, which is a violation of Ontario County's suicide prevention procedures.

According to the report, a social worker told investigators: "It may take up to two weeks to address a mental health referral or request."

On Dec. 24, 2009, the day before his death, Morgan talked to his wife by phone twice, but she told state investigators, "he gave no indications of suicidal thoughts."

An officer at the jail who supervised Morgan on work details at least six times in two months said Morgan never appeared depressed.

Jail employees told state investigators that when Morgan was found hanging in his cell, they could not find an "automatic emergency defibrillator" in its proper location.

A computerized log noted the discovery of Morgan hanging and efforts to revive him only as "EMT responded" at 1:42 a.m. on Dec. 25, 2009, which is a violation of state standards.

Records of significant events should also include the names of all prisoners and staff involved, the facility's response, a summary of what occurred and a description of the condition of the prisoners involved.

In the report, commission officials recommend that Sheriff Phil Povero direct employees to comply with policies and standards, and issue a memo regarding the locations of AEDs.

The commission also directed Ontario County Director of Mental Health William Swingly to review the work of two of the county's licensed social workers. The state also wants a review of response time for mental health clinicians to see inmates who submit mental health referrals.

Swingly also must develop a written policy regarding referrals of inmates and patients who make repeated self-referrals for mental health services. And he must create a patient education tool regarding psychoactive drugs, which county social workers would use when they meet with inmates.

Swingly also must develop a policy and procedure on informed "refusal of treatment" forms to be used when an inmate declines treatment or medication.

By May 25, Swingly must report to the commission on the results of the reviews, the patient education tool and the new policies and procedures.

"All the allegations against the county have no merit," said Assistant Ontario County Attorney Michael G. Reinhardt.

"At this point, the county is considering its legal options with regard to the report," Reinhardt said.

Morgan's widow, Sandra Morgan, filed a lawsuit against Ontario County in November. That case is still in the discovery stage, Reinhardt said.

Death of inmate in Lucas County Jail under inquiry

Authorities are investigating the death of an inmate in the Lucas County Jail.

Christopher W. McGaha, 34, of Haskins, Ohio, was found unresponsive in his cot by a corrections officer about 6:45 a.m. Tuesday as the inmates were being called to breakfast, said Jim O'Neal, jail administrator.

He was booked into the lockup on Nov. 25 on two counts each of aggravated robbery with a firearm specification and robbery and was held in a one-person cell on the sixth floor.

His trial was scheduled for Tuesday, according to Common Pleas Court records. The Lucas County Coroner's Office has scheduled an autopsy for Wednesday.

Inmate found dead in DeKalb Jail

February 8, 2011

A man charged with killing his wife hanged himself in the Dekalb County Jail, sheriff’s deputies said.

Desta M. Tesfai, 47, was found dead in his cell Tuesday morning. An investigation found he had used the rope from his laundry bag to hang himself, Major Reginald Scandrett said.

Tesfai’s roommate removed the rope and contacted jail staff, who pronounced him dead.

Police arrested Tesfai Jan. 23 on charges he killed his wife, 35-year-old Genet Abay, in their apartment on East Club Drive in north Atlanta.

According to a police report, a maintenance worker found Tesfai and Abay both face down in the apartment covered in blood. Abay had several stab wounds to her back and neck, police said.

Police said Tesfai had drunk bleach and attempted to kill himself. He was treated at the hospital before being booked in the jail, police said.

The DeKalb Medical Examiner will conduct an autopsy to determine his exact cause of death.


Sheriff: Inmate commits apparent suicide at County Jail

February 8, 2011

A 25-year-old inmate from Pennsylvania died around 6 a.m. Tuesday after apparently hanging himself from a two-man cell at the Jail on North Marietta Street, Sheriff Alan Cloninger said.

Daniel Michael Summerville of Slippery Rock, Pa., was arrested on Feb. 5 at 9:52 p.m. in Mount Holly, Cloninger said.

Summerville was charged with felony identification fraud and held on a $1,000 secured bond, arrest warrants state.

Cloninger said he had “no idea” why Summerville may have been in Gaston County.

Summerville was found hanging in the cell by jail staff on Monday at 7:30 p.m., according to a sheriff’s office news release.

He was found unresponsive in the cell and basic life support was initiated after jail medical staff responded, the release states.

Emergency workers were able to get a pulse back for Summerville by the time they arrived at Gaston Memorial Hospital, according to emergency workers.

Gaston Emergency Medical Services transported Summerville to the hospital, the release states.

Cloninger said the State Bureau of Investigation was investigating the incident. The release states the sheriff’s department is conducting its own internal investigation.

“We’re in the middle of the investigation – all our policies work fine,” Cloninger said. “If something is brought to our attention, we’ll look at changing it then.”

Cloninger refused to comment on what items Summerville used to hang himself or the last time he was checked on by jail staff.

“I can’t discuss that at this time,” he said.

Summerville’s cell mate was not in the cell at the time of the apparent suicide, Cloninger said.


Nueces County Jail Inmate Dies

February 8, 2011
Monica Chavarria

CORPUS CHRISTI - The Texas Rangers are investigating the death of an inmate at the Nueces County Jail.

Officials tell us that 29 year old Gregory Cheek died at Spohn Memorial Hospital on Monday after being found unconscious in his cell on Sunday night.

Guards found Cheek laying in his cell unresponsive and began CPR.

While Being transported to the hospital, Cheek opened his eyes but was not talking.

Officials are waiting on autopsy results to learn the cause of his death.

Cheek first arrived at the jail in October.



Inmate found dead at Marin Jail hanged himself

February 11, 2011
The Associated Press

— Investigators say an inmate who died at the jail in Marin County hanged himself in his cell.

Novato police reported preliminary results on Thursday of an autopsy on 45-year-old Daymitreeus Sessoms of San Rafael. The autopsy was conducted by the Sonoma County Coroner's Office.

Sessoms was found unresponsive in his cell around noon on Monday. The Marin Independent Journal reports that sheriff's deputies attempted to resuscitate him, but paramedics who responded to the scene pronounced him dead.

Sessoms had been arrested earlier Monday on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, hit-and-run and violating probation. 

Inmate’s Death Exposes Health Care Problems in Local Jails

Ms. Cowling was pulled over on Christmas Eve for speeding and arrested for outstanding warrants on minor charges. She was bipolar and methadone-dependent and took a raft of medications each day. For the five days she was in Gregg County Jail, Ms. Cowling and her family pleaded with officials to give her the medicines that sat in her purse in the jail’s storage room. They never did.

Ms. Cowling’s death is the most recent at Sheriff Maxey Cerliano’s Gregg County Jail in Longview. Since 2005, nine inmates have died there — most were attributed to health conditions like cancer, diabetes and stomach ulcers — far more than at other facilities its size. Bowie County Jail, in East Texas on the Arkansas border, reported five deaths in the same period, as did Brazoria County Jail, south of Houston on the Gulf Coast. In Williamson County in Central Texas near Austin, the jail reported just two deaths.

Interviews with prison experts and people with firsthand experience with the Gregg County lockup and its medical staff, as well as a review of scores of public documents, reveal a troubled local jail where staff turnover is high and inmates routinely complain about conditions. Criminal justice advocates say the situation in Gregg County is not unique; it is representative of systemic problems that plague local jails statewide.

Sheriff Cerliano defends the medical treatment in his jail and said he does his best to weed out bad jailers. “It’s only about doing the right thing,” he said.

Vicki Bankhead never went a day without talking to Ms. Cowling, her daughter and best friend. “I miss hearing her voice,” Ms. Bankhead said, sobbing. Ms. Cowling became a mother at age 15. She had become addicted to prescription pills and was found guilty in 2001 of possessing a fraudulent prescription. She struggled to keep a job.

Although Ms. Cowling had been clean for several years and was getting treatment at a methadone clinic, Ms. Bankhead said, her daughter had other health problems, including bipolar disorder, heart troubles and a failing kidney. “Amy needed her medication to stay alive,” she said. “That’s why I was begging them to help her repeatedly.”

Public records show that Ms. Cowling told Gregg County Jail officials that she had high blood pressure, arthritis and only one kidney. She reported that she took Seroquel to treat bipolar disorder and that she had been receiving methadone treatment for a decade — but neither of those drugs is allowed in the jail.

State standards require only that jails provide treatment according to the facility’s health care plan. Dr. Lewis A. Browne, the county health administrator and jail doctor since 1992, decides which drugs are allowed. Drugs like Seroquel and methadone, he said, are often traded among inmates for illicit favors.

Gregg County officials said that Ms. Cowling had received appropriate substitute medications.

Reports on her case submitted to the Texas attorney general’s office show that Ms. Cowling began having “seizure activity” while she was in the facility. The morning before she died, a jail nurse called Dr. Browne to report that Ms. Cowling was “hollering and uncooperative.” Dr. Browne told the nurse to give Ms. Cowling a dose of the antipsychotic drug Haldol. When a nurse called Dr. Browne later to report that Ms. Cowling was yelling again, he ordered more Haldol and put her on suicide watch. Ms. Cowling was booked on a Friday morning, and a jailer discovered her dead just after midnight on Wednesday.

Precisely what caused Ms. Cowling’s death remains unknown. A preliminary autopsy was inconclusive. Her family has retained a lawyer.

County officials contend that Ms. Cowling’s death was not their fault. She was not honest with them about all of her health problems, said Robert Davis, a lawyer for the county. “I absolutely do not believe that the jail or jail staff contributed to this inmate’s death whatsoever,” Mr. Davis said.

Sheriff Cerliano, however, concedes that not everything went according to the jail’s policies. After Ms. Cowling’s death, he conducted an investigation that he said showed that one jailer falsified observation logs that night. He fired five jailers and a sixth resigned. (Not all of the firings were related to Ms. Cowling’s death, he said, but were for conduct discovered during the investigation.) Two of the jailers were arrested for falsifying government documents.

Still, he said, the jail staff followed medical protocol in caring for Ms. Cowling. “We do everything we can to take care of inmates,” he said.

Since 2008, Gregg County inmates have filed more than 20 complaints with the Texas Commission on Jail Standards about conditions in the lockup. Most of the complaints were health-care-related; inmates said they could not get medicine and did not receive timely medical attention. An inmate who hanged himself in the jail in 2009 had complained that among many other grievances, he was not allowed medication he had been prescribed on the outside and had not been seen by a doctor.

In letters responding to nearly all the complaints, Adan Muñoz, the commission’s executive director, wrote, “The Texas Commission on Jail Standards does not question the professional opinion of medical personnel.”

Inmates have sued Sheriff Cerliano and Dr. Browne at least twice since 2005, alleging that their constitutional rights were violated by the jail’s deliberate indifference to their medical needs. In both cases, the courts found that Dr. Browne and the jail had attempted to provide adequate care.

Dr. Browne, who has his own family medical practice in Longview, is paid more than $100,000 per year to act as the jail doctor and director of the county health authority. He said that inmate health care was “the toughest medical situation to deal with.” Inmates are often uncooperative and dishonest about their health conditions, he said, and many are drug addicts. Adding to the challenge is that it is hard to retain medical staff, Dr. Browne said.

Medical staff members at the jail are not the only ones with a high turnover rate; records from the sheriff’s department show that in 2009 and 2010, more than 40 percent of the 167 jail employees either quit or were fired.

Sheriff Cerliano said the pay is low for jailers and that they have to go through months of training, pass drug screenings and work in challenging situations.

Lt. David Drosche, who works in the Brazos County Sheriff’s Office and is president of the Texas Jail Association, agreed that retaining jailers is difficult but said that a 40 percent turnover rate is “extremely high.” The higher turnover, he said, results in more inexperienced jailers.

County lockups in Texas are accountable to the Texas Commission on Jail Standards. Before Ms. Cowling’s death, the Gregg County Jail had passed every commission inspection for the last five years. Within weeks after she died, the commission, which reviews county jail deaths, decided the jail was in compliance with state standards.

But the commission does not require that jails meet specific health care criteria, only that they have medical plans on file. It also doesn’t keep track of jail staff turnover.

Diana Claitor, executive director of the Texas Jail Project, which advocates for improved jail conditions, said better health care standards and monitoring of data like staff turnover could help prevent more deaths like Ms. Cowling’s. From January 2005 to September 2009, more than 280 inmates died from illnesses in Texas county jails.

“One of the chief factors playing into mistreatment or neglect would be ill-trained, inexperienced staff,” she said. But with the state budget crunch, pressing the jail standards commission to provide additional oversight is a tough sell, Ms. Claitor said.

Sheriff Cerliano said his jailers already receive more training than is required by state standards and that the medical staff provides the best care possible. Ms. Cowling’s death was unfortunate, he said, but it does not mean that wholesale changes are needed in the way jails are regulated.

“We do have inmates that come in sick,” he said. “It’s incumbent upon us to try to do the best we can.”

Inmate who died is identified

February 12, 2011

The inmate who died after suffering an apparent heartattack in the Butte jail is identified as Danny Frye, according to Butte coroner Lee LaBreche.

Frye, 50, who had an Anaconda address, collapsed about 11:45 p.m. Wednesday and jail staff began performing CPR on the victim, according to Butte police Capt. George Skuletich. Police and firefighters soon arrived and used a defibulator on the victim, before transporting him to St. James Healthcare.

Skuletich reported that the man died about 12:40 p.m. Thursday while in intensive care at the hospital.

Frye was arrested in Butte on Jan. 27, on a felony warrant out of Wyoming.

LaBreche said an autopsy was done Friday morning on the victim, but results were pending. He said authorities suspect it was a natural death.

Twin Falls County Jail Inmate Dies

February 15, 2011

Twin Falls police are investigating the death of a Twin Falls County jail inmate.

A news release from the sheriff's office says the inmate was found dead in his cell from a suspected suicide at about 3 a.m. Tuesday.

County prosecutor Grant Loebs says the death will be investigated to determine if it was a suicide or involved foul play.

The inmate's name and cause of death haven't been released.

An inmate found dead at the Montgomery County Detention Center committed suicide, according to police and jail officials.

Authorities said 21-year-old Vincent B. Peppins hanged himself Jan. 13, the day he was booked on warrants for auto theft in St. Mary's and Frederick counties. His death wasn't publicly reported until this week, prompting questions about the information a jail should disclose when an inmate dies.

Peppins was apprehended after fleeing from a car during a traffic stop in Montgomery County, police spokeswoman Lucille Baur said.

He was booked into the jail shortly before noon, said Arthur Wallenstein, director of the Department of Correction and Rehabilitation. That evening, Peppins was found hanging in a shower stall.

Baur said police received a report of a possible suicide at 7:39 p.m. Peppins was pronounced dead at a hospital about 40 minutes later.

The office of the state's chief medical examiner ruled the death a suicide, and said the cause was injuries from hanging, Baur said.

The death was first publicly reported after Peppins' family told WUSA 9 that it questioned the suicide ruling.

The lack of information about a jail death is concerning, justice experts said.

"Without public notification, you can't know if there's an issue that should be dealt with more systematically," said Tracy Velazquez, executive director of the Justice Policy Institute.

Wallenstein said police were called instantly and "there was no withholding of information." Baur said the department didn't issue a news release because the medical examiner quickly confirmed the death as a suicide and detectives found no evidence of foul play.

In the Maryland state prison system, where two inmate homicides have occurred this month, the corrections department generally announces when an inmate dies, a spokeswoman said.

That's a "best practice" most agencies follow, said David Fathi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's National Prison Project. He said the public and media have limited access to jails, so those facilities "have a greater responsibility to take affirmative steps" to disclose information.

Suicide is the leading cause of death at jails, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Wallenstein said there have been three suicides in Montgomery in the 11 years he has led the department.

County Jail inmate kills self; 2nd suicide at facility in 5 months

Shantal Parris Riley and Emily Stewart • Poughkeepsie Journal • February 16, 2011

For the second time in five months, a man has committed suicide at the Dutchess County Jail.

Thomas Allen Siewert, 51, who was being held in the jail on a driving while intoxicated charge, was found hanging from an air grate in his cell by jail staff Friday.

The Dutchess County Medical Examiner's Office has confirmed the cause of death as suicide by hanging.

Dutchess County Jail officials would not comment Tuesday on whether the man had been under a suicide watch — or why they waited four days to report Siewert's death.

Town of Poughkeepsie police said Siewert was sent to Dutchess County Jail a week earlier, on Feb. 4, after spending the night in town lockup. His incarceration followed a bench warrant arrest by town police the day earlier, which, in turn, stemmed from a felony DWI charge he received in the town Nov. 3.

A Sheriff's Office press release said that jail staff performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Siewert after he was found unresponsive at 5:08 p.m.

Mobile Life Ambulance medics continued resuscitation efforts and transported Siewert to Saint Francis Hospital in the Town of Poughkeepsie, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Siewert's death follows the suicide of county jail inmate Justin McCue. Jail officials said the 26-year-old Westchester County man, who was found hanging by a light fixture Sept. 23, had shown no signs of being suicidal, according to a Journal report.

Their deaths are the only suicides, Dutchess County Jail officials said, to have occurred at the facility in more than 30 years.

Siewert was awaiting a hearing on his felony DWI charge. That charge constituted a violation of probation from a previous misdemeanor DWI conviction in the Town of Pleasant Valley, jail officials said.

Siewert's Sunday obituary described him as a certified heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems technicians, with hobbies that included listening to music, playing guitar and fishing.

His funeral arrangements are being handled by Sweet's Funeral Home in Hyde Park.

Inmate Kills Herself in SE Missouri Crash

February 17, 2011
Associated Press

(Holcomb, MO) -- A southeast Missouri jail inmate is dead after jumping from a moving van, according to the Associated Press.

It says the Kennett Daily Dunklin Democrat reports that a coroner has ruled that 40-year-old Lavonda Brown of Hayti committed suicide.

Authorities say Brown was traveling in a Pemiscot County van Sunday afternoon on the way to Poplar Bluff for a court appearance when she suddenly jumped out along Highway 25 at Holcomb. Sheriff Bob Holder says she was wearing hand and foot restraints when placed on the van, but was able to get them off during the ride. She jumped out of a side door.

Pemiscot County deputies stopped the van and administered first aid until rescue crews arrived. Brown was airlifted to a Cape Girardeau hospital, where she died.


Suicide at Iowa Jail

February 18, 2011

NEVADA, Iowa — The Story County Sheriff’s Office says a 63-year-old county jail inmate has committed suicide.

A press release said Mark Dubendorf, who was awaiting sentencing in March on a sex-abuse conviction, was found a little before 8:20 a.m. Friday. Dubendorf had fastened a sheet around his neck and tied it to part of his cell.

Neither jail staffers nor paramedics were able to revive him. He was pronounced dead at Story County Medical Center a little before 9:30 a.m.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation will help with the investigation.

Capt. Barry Thomas says Dubendorf had not been on a suicide watch.


Questions surround a Marion County jail facility after a pregnany inmate died just days after being transferred there. The woman's family says something started just two days earlier but they are still waiting to hear from authorities about what happened.

"I want to know why my daughter died. Why her and my baby is dead?" said Lisa Nipper, the inmate's mother.

Lisa said her daughter, 27-year-old Amber Redden, was two months pregnant and in a medical ward at the Marion County Jail until four days ago when she was transferred to Liberty Hall. Shortly after, Lisa says something went wrong.

"She called me on the 19th, she said, 'Mom, I'm not feeling good.' I said, 'What's wrong?' She said, 'I don't know, I just don't feel good,'" recalled Lisa.

That was the last time she heard from Amber.

On Sunday, Lisa says the daughter of one of Amber's friends in the jail called to say Amber was having seizures.

"My daughter has never had a seizure in her life," said Lisa.

Lisa said the only thing they heard from the facility was that Amber was running a temperature and that she was moved to a cooler room. Hours later, Lisa said she got another call from the daughter of that inmate.

"That was around 10:00 p.m. when that lady called me and said, 'Amber has fallen off the toilet having a seizure, and she's foaming at the mouth. They're in their doing CPR on her.'"

Hours after that, Lisa had a knock at her door.

"My (other) daughter showed up and a chaplain from the jail to tell me she's dead," cried Lisa.

Though IMPD detectives are investigating Amber's death, neither police nor the Marion County Sheriff's Department are saying much. Liberty Hall, which is run by an outside company, released a statement saying:

"Liberty Hall is conducting its own review of Sunday`s events and is working with the Marion County Sheriff`s Department and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department with their ongoing investigations."

"Something is not right. Something has got to be done," said Lisa.

She said the family is still waiting to hear how Amber died, what was or wasn't done to treat her or even why she was transfered in the first place.

"Nobody will tell me nothing. I can't get nothing from the jail, I can't get nothing from Liberty Hall, I can't get nothing from the coroners. I want answers and I want them now," said Lisa.

Sheriff: Inmate hanged herself in Bakersfield cell

February 15, 2011

Kern County Sheriff's officials say an inmate who died after being found unresponsive in her jail cell hanged herself.

The sheriff's office released the results on Tuesday of an autopsy on 28-year-old Lorena Diaz of Bakersfield. Diaz was found unresponsive on Saturday night in her cell at the Kern County Sheriff's Office's Central Receiving Facility in Bakersfield.

She was taken to Mercy Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Diaz's family tells KGET-TV she had a history of mental health problems and had been in and out of jail. They questioned why she was not on a suicide watch.

But Sheriff's Lt. Tyson Davis says mental health professionals who evaluated Diaz said she was not a danger to herself.

Inmate Death Ruled Accidental

February 24, 2011
Memphis, TN.

  • Death of Shelby County jail inmate, who died in November, has been ruled accidental homicide
  • Thirty Seven-year-old Edward Jackson died after fighting with his cellmate and then struggling with jailers
  • Medical Examiner says Jackson likely died of mechanical asphyxia
(Memphis 2/24/2011) The death of a Shelby County jail inmate, who died in November of 2010, has been ruled an accidental homicide.

Authorities say 37-year-old Edward Jackson died at The MED after initiating a fight with his cellmate, Richard Dickerson, and then struggling with jailers.

The fight started in the early morning hours of November 29, 2010.

Washington County inmate dies in cell

Natural causes is believed to be the cause of death

Washington County inmate Wilbur T. Teague died while in jail. The 63-year-old inmate complained he was having trouble breathing. Correctional officers began to asst him.

Teague eventually became unresponsive, and stopped breathing. Officers performed CPR on Teague, but saw no change in his condition.

Teague was transported to St. Joseph's Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 5:28 p.m.

It is believes Teague died of natural causes.

Family of inmate who died plans to file lawsuit

February 24, 2011

DENVER (AP)-Relatives of a man who died in the Denver jail say they are filing a lawsuit , claiming city officials have tried to cover up what happened.

The family of 56-year-old Marvin Booker and their attorneys planned a news conference Thursday in front of the Denver Courthouse to announce the lawsuit.

Booker died July 9 after he was placed in a so-called "sleeper" hold and shocked with a Taser in an incident in which deputies also piled on top of him.

Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey declined to press charges against sheriff's deputies. He has said Booker disobeyed orders and cursed at a female deputy who was trying to put him in a cell before three other deputies joined in.

Booker's family claims authorities have stalled while saying they're investigating.

Jail Takes Over 10 Minutes To Help Dying Inmate

March 1, 2011

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. -- An inmate in the infirmary at the Orange County Jail suffered a heart attack, but no one helped him for more than 10 minutes. The inmate died shortly after someone finally arrived to try to help him.

A Jail Nurse has resigned over the incident that happened in October 2010. However, the county released video (see it) on Tuesday showing the man having a heart attack.

In the video, it appears that 49-year-old Ronnie Benton knew he was having a heart attack. At 7:29pm, he sat on a bed in the infirmary with his hand over his chest. Two minutes later, he started banging his crutch on the edge of his bed, trying to get medical attention. Then he threw the crutch.

At 7:33pm, another inmate realized Benton was in pain and waved over a guard, who didn't appear to be in a hurry to help. For three minutes, Benton sat with no one checking on him.

At 7:36pm, he collapsed to his knees. Finally, the nurse on staff came over, but left him there and continued handing out medication to other inmates.

More than 12 minutes went by before guards showed up with a wheelchair. Benton died just after they wheeled him out of the infirmary.

"Five minutes goes by before anyone even acknowledges he is having a heart attack," WFTV reporter Daralene Jones said to Public Safety Director Linda Wineberg.

"Right, absolutely unacceptable. Absolutely unacceptable," Wineberg said.

Benton was in jail for failure to appear in court, but has been in and out of the jail since 1996 for sexual battery, reckless driving and aggravated assault.

Wineberg is the administrator over Health Services, but has added responsibility as the county's Public Safety Director. She said an investigation found the nurse in the infirmary that day, Stacy Jones, failed to get Benton the help he desperately needed.

Benton wasn't on a heart monitor, but had a history of heart problems.

"She made a judgment call and the judgment call was incorrect," Wineberg said.

Jones was going to be fired, but when her attorney looked at the evidence she resigned. She had been a nurse at the jail for less than a year.

Inmate found dead at Los Angeles County's Central Jail

March 1, 2011
Los Angeles Times

An inmate at Men's Central Jail was found dead Tuesday morning, according to a Los Angeles County Sheriff’ Department official.

Further details about how the man died were unavailable, said Capt. Mike Parker.

As is customary, homicide investigators were sent to the downtown Los Angeles facility to launch a probe.

Inmate discovered dead in Jail cell

Suspect was facing charges of arson

March 1, 2011
Betty Adams

WISCASSET -- An inmate held on arson and
other charges died at Two Bridges Regional Jail early Monday, an apparent suicide.

Robi K. Saputra, 21, of Brunswick, was found alone hanging from a bed sheet in his jail cell at 2:18 a.m., according to Maine State Police spokesman Steve McCausland.

Saputra was arrested in August 2010 in connection with a fire Aug. 17, 2010, in an abandoned four-unit apartment building at the Brunswick Naval Air Station Annex in Topsham.

McCausland said state police are investigating Saputra's death, as they do with all inmate deaths in the state correctional system. He said Saputra's body would be taken to the State Medical Examiner's Office in Augusta for autopsy.

Correctional Administrator Maj. Mark Westrum said Saputra had been out on bail on the arson charge -- set at $10,000 cash or $20,000 worth of property -- but was rearrested Feb. 21 by Wiscasset police on a charge of violating bail conditions.

He was being held on the bail violations at the time of his death, and also on new charges from Kennebec County involving drugs and underage drinkers.

Saputra was being checked every half hour, as is the case with most of the inmates at the jail, Westrum said.

"It's sad. In a lot of these cases, there are mental health or drug issues," Westrum said. "He didn't show any indicators. This came as a surprise."

Saputra was alone in his cell; a note was also found there, McCausland said.

Saputra had recently been indicted Feb. 11 by a Kennebec County grand jury on charges with aggravated furnishing of scheduled drugs, unlawful furnishing of scheduled drugs and furnishing liquor to a minor.

According to the indictment, those offenses all occurred Aug. 7, 2010, in Waterville.

"He is alleged to have furnished marijuana and alcohol to minors and at least one of the minors was under the age of 18," Kennebec County District Attorney Evert Fowle said.

Fowle said the investigation showed the individuals met at a park in Winslow, went to a private residence in Waterville and smoked three joints. Saputra was the only adult charged, Fowle said.

"When I screened this case several months ago, we were aware of the arson charge but there was no connection between these two events," Fowle said.

While Saputra was arrested on the indictment, he had yet to be brought before a judge, Fowle said.

Another inmate attempted to hang himself at Two Bridges Regional Jail, on Oct. 3, 2010. Alexander Farnsworth, 25, of Wiscasset, was found by officers and taken to Maine Medical Center, where he died Oct. 9, 2010, Westrum said.

Inmate dies day after suicide attempt

March 2, 2011
Associated Press

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) - A north Florida jail inmate died a day after an apparent suicide attempt.

The Alachua County Sheriff's Office reports that 40-year-old John D. Gardner died at a Gainesville hospital Tuesday night.

Officials say Gardner was found by another inmate early Monday morning after hanging himself with an extension cord. Jail workers performed CPR on Gardner until paramedics arrived and took him to the hospital.

Jail officials say a suicide note was found on Gardner's bed.

Downtown L.A. Jail inmate killed by cellmate

March 4, 2011

An L.A. County jail inmate found dead in his cell was killed by a cellmate, who has since confessed, an official confirmed Friday.

The victim was locked up at Men’s Central Jail on attempted murder charges, and his attacker was there on a murder charge, according to authorities.

[Updated ar 4:12 p.m.: The inmate was killed sometime between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. His death wasn’t detected by deputies until morning, said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Capt. Mike Parker, because “during checks of the cell…the victim appeared to be sleeping in his bunk.”

Two other inmates were in the cell, Parker said. The suspect was awaiting trial on a murder charge when the incident occurred.]

“When you have a significant number of people in custody for murder and attempted murder, and then others with various other charges, people of like crimes are often housed together,” said Parker.

[Updated at 11:43 a.m.: The victim was identified as Jonathan Najera, a 20-year-old from Ventura. Najera was strangled to death, said Ed Winter, the county's assistant chief coroner.]

It had not been officially determined how the inmate was killed or why. Authorities have not released their names, and it was unclear if either had been convicted of the charges for which they were arrested.

Deputies found the inmate dead in his cell Tuesday morning, but it was unclear when he had been killed.

Cells at the downtown Los Angeles jail are not under constant monitoring. The jail has long been criticized, even from within the department, as aging, understaffed and overcrowded.

Sevier Jail sees second inmate death this year

March 4, 2011
Associated Press

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - For the second time this year an inmate has died while in custody at the Sevier County jail.

Sheriff Ron Seals told The Mountain Press that 38-year-old Billy Foster of Seymour began having seizures on Tuesday. He was moved to the medical wing for monitoring and was found unresponsive later that evening.

Seals said jail employees followed protocol for monitoring Foster. The sheriff has requested an autopsy and has asked the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to investigate.

Last month, 47-year-old Derek Lewis Pitts died while in jail custody. Seals also turned that case over to the TBI.

A preliminary autopsy found Pitts had several medical issues that could have led to his death. It found no indication of foul play.

Inmate hangs self in Springfield Jail cell

The man, identified as Kit Milo Brittain of Springfield, had been held in the city jail since Feb. 26. Smith said at no point during his incarceration did Brittain behave as if he were suicidal.

A jail officer found Brittain dead during a routine check. Inmates are checked hourly, Smith said.

The Springfield city jail opened in January 2010. Before Sunday, no inmate at the facility had ever committed or attempted suicide, Smith said.

Polk inmate apparently chokes to death

A 71-year-old Polk County inmate died today after he was found in the distress last week and taken to a local hospital, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said.

Lynn Ludlow Pierson, who was in jail pending charges in a triple attempted murder case, died at Bartow Regional Medical Center.

On Thursday, Pierson was in the medical infirmary at Polk County's Central County Jail when a piece of food became lodged in his airway and he couldn't breathe, the sheriff's office said. He became unconscious but a nurse was able to clear his airway.

He was taken to the hospital, where he died Monday afternoon. He had been in the jail's infirmary section because of age-related health issues, the sheriff's office said.

Pierson of Lakeland was arrested in May 2007 after he stabbed his 8-year-old granddaughter, 93-year-old mother-in-law and 48-year-old son. All three recovered from their injuries, the sheriff's office said.

The sheriff's office is continuing an investigation into Pierson's death.

Inmate dies at Matagorda County Jail

March 5, 2011

BAY CITY - Matagorda County authorities say a 30-year-old man in jail on charges of criminal trespassing and indecency with a child was found dead in an apparent suicide Friday.

Andrew Mendoza of Danevang was found hanging from his cell just after 9 a.m. Friday.

The jailers immediately started CPR and emergency medical personnel arrived on the scene less than six minutes later, said Gary Mathis, Matagorda County sheriff.

Mendoza was transported to Matagorda Regional Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead at 9:50 a.m.

Jeannette Bell, Justice of the Peace Pct. 1, conducted an inquest and ordered an autopsy to be performed at the Galveston County medical examiner's office, Mathis said.

Mathis said Mendoza was in a single occupancy cell with no other inmates at the time of his death, Mathis said.

"As standard procedure, the Texas Rangers were called in to conduct an investigation," Mathis said.

The Texas Commission on Jail Standards was notified and a report was filed also as standard procedure, he said.

Mendoza had been at the Matagorda County jail since late December awaiting a trial, said Joe Raymond, brother of Mendoza.

He was held on a $40,000 bond.

Mendoza's family has contacted the League of United Latin America Citizens to obtain information from conflicting reports they have received since Friday.

"The family was never contacted after his death," said Joey Cardenas, LULAC state director.

The mother arrived at the county jail at 1 p.m. on Friday to drop off a money order, and only then was she informed of his death, Cardenas said.

"The family contacted me because they are looking for answers and want to know what really happened to their son," Cardenas said.

The family does not believe he committed suicide, Raymond said.

Mom will sue for pregnant inmate    death

March 7, 2011
Jacqueline Policastro

(WISH) - The Marion County sheriff say's he's taking responsibility after a pregnant inmate died at Liberty Hall Jail.

Last month, 27-year-old Amber Redden, collapsed and died at the jail while two months pregnant.

Now, Redden's mother says she's suing. She wants jail workers fired, and she wants a settlement.

Liberty Hall Jail is run by Community Education Centers, and the company says they're not at fault.

Marion County Sheriff John Layton tells 24-Hour News 8 there were probably mistakes made by workers there.

“I take it personally. As the sheriff of Marion County, the buck stops on my desk,” said Layton.

Layton already launched two separate investigations.

He has deputies looking into Redden's death at Liberty Hall Jail, plus he is teaming up with two former sheriffs to look into standards at jails not run by the county.

“I have to take responsibility,” Layton said.

On Friday, Layton moved all pregnant inmates to the Marion County Jail where they are housed 150 feet from 24-hour medical attention. There's even an emergency button inside the cell block.

“I never want to see anything like this happen again, and I'm going to take every step I have to, to make sure it doesn't,” Layton said.

Warren County inmate dies days after attempted hanging

March 5, 2011
Ben Orcutt

FRONT ROYAL -- A Linden man who tried to hang himself in the Warren County Jail has died.

Jason Eric Brill, 36, was first transported to Warren Memorial Hospital after he was found hanging by a bedsheet in his cell at 11:46 p.m. on Feb. 22, according to a news release issued by Warren County Sheriff Daniel T. McEathron.

According to Brill's obituary, he died four days later at the Winchester Medical Center.
McEathron says in the news release that CPR was performed on Brill until emergency medical personnel arrived at the jail at 8 E. Jackson St.

After Brill arrived at Warren Memorial Hospital, he was transferred to
Winchester Medical Center and admitted into the intensive care unit, McEathron says.

Brill was being held in the Warren County Jail on two felony charges of aggravated sexual battery of a minor younger than 13, according to the news release.

McEathron has said that Brill tried to hang himself between jailers making rounds, which they are required to do every half hour.

"You can have all the security and safety measures in place and once there's windows of opportunity for inmates to do all kinds of things that may be between rounds or may be between observations or different things like that," McEathron said Friday. "You do everything you possibly can and implement as many security measures that you possibly can and continue to do that every day in whatever advancement you're able to provide, but unfortunately things like this sometimes happen."

The Sheriff's Office has about 96 cameras that monitor the jail and the courthouse, McEathron said.

"So you monitor and you make your rounds and you do all those different things that you can do, and you attempt to observe everything that's going on," McEathron said.

McEathron said it doesn't take long before an inmate can suffer serious harm from hanging. "It's just a matter of minutes."

A Linden woman who was being held in the Warren County Jail for felony child neglect died in June 2009 as a result of hanging herself.

McEathron confirmed at that time that Lori Leigh Gray, 54, with a last known address of 279 Ulysses Way, died at Winchester Medical Center several days later.

Rescue personnel were summoned to the jail about 11 a.m. on June 5, 2009, after Gray hanged herself with a bedsheet, McEathron has said.

"Over the last couple of years we've prevented two other attempts and we've had well over a couple hundred interventions with things that occur that you do find out about ahead of time or you're able to intervene at any given time," McEathron said. "So the jailers and the medical staff are very diligent in making sure they are aware of what they're made aware of, or can find out and precautions are taken the best they can."

It doesn't help, McEathron said, that Warren County has an outdated jail.

"We do have a old facility that has bars and has the type of equipment that was state of the art back in the '50s and '60s and '70s, which makes it difficult for management in the way things are set up with the amount of population we have," McEathron said. "We're averaging 130-some inmates in population and it's a task to manage all that, but the jailers do an excellent job of that and providing the best safety and security that they can for all the inmates back there. ... It was originally built only to house 32 back in the '50s, and then we upgraded it, and I believe it was upgraded to about 79."

McEathron said when he talks about the jail's population, he's including the work release center, which also is on East Jackson Street.

"That's counting both buildings, but I think we had like 17 on the floor just recently because there's no bed space," McEathron added.

Hinds County inmate dies

March 9, 2011

HINDS COUNTY, MS (WLBT) - The case of a burglary suspect who died after reports he was beaten by police is now being investigated by the FBI.

Sources tell WLBT News that John Bridges, 48, broke into a church in south Jackson last Thursday.

He then led officers on a high speed chase and was eventually stopped in Pearl.

After Pearl Police subdued Bridges, he was taken to the Hinds County Jail in Raymond.

He was so badly injured, officers there refused to accept him until he was taken to UMC.

Bridges was booked sometime later, but transferred back to the hospital, where he died Monday night.

An autopsy is set to be conducted Tuesday night to determine the cause of death.

Norway Inmate Dies at Androscoggin County Jail

February 28, 2011

AUBURN — A 53-year-old Norway man died at the Androscoggin County Jail late Sunday, 13 hours after he had been moved to an observation cell for refusing to take his medications.

Sheriff Guy Desjardins said Reid Ross of 7 King St. was being held at the jail following his arrest on two Class D counts of criminal threatening, and one misdemeanor count of violating conditions of release. The charges were filed in 11th District Court in South Paris on Feb. 15, and Ross has been housed at the Androscoggin County Jail since then.

According to Desjardins, Ross’ family has been notified of his death.

Ross was moved to an observation cell before 10:50 a.m. Sunday, and checked every 15 minutes during the next 13 hours. An officer found Ross unconscious at 11:52 p.m., and jail officers performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Ross was transported to the hospital at 12:03 a.m. Monday, where he was pronounced dead.

According to Desjardins, state police and representatives of the Maine Attorney General’s Office are investigating Ross’ death.

According to Sun Journal archives, Ross and his wife moved from Jackman to Wilton in 2008 to be closer to doctors and hospitals. Ross, who suffered from emphysema and asthma and had recently qualified for Social Security benefits to augment his wife’s disability payments, purchased the Wilton home after seeing it on At the time, the house needed a new roof and chimney and its only water source was from a brook that flowed next to the property. Ross told the Sun Journal, after purchasing the home, he was confident he could make the repairs himself.

When they moved in, the couple discovered that there was a leak in the septic system, and that a partially buried oil tank was being used to store waste.

After months of trying to work with the couple, who could not afford the estimated $13,000 to install a new septic system, Wilton’s building code enforcement officer entered into a consent agreement with Ross and his wife, which included an order to repair the system or vacate the home.

In March 2010, the court ordered the building condemned and forced Ross out.

As recently as Jan. 27, Ross was still living in Wilton, where he was arrested on a warrant charging unpaid fines and fees of more than $1,500 on charges of attaching false license plates and operating after suspension. Ross arranged a payment plan with Franklin County, and was released from the Franklin County Jail.

On Feb. 2, Ross was living in Norway and arrested by Norway police on a Rumford charge of telephone harassment in connection with an incident on Congress Street in Rumford.

Then, on Feb. 15, he was charged by Norway police with two counts of criminal threatening and violating bail conditions, according to court records, and transported to the Oxford County Jail.

From there, Ross was moved to the Androscoggin County Jail.

According to court records, Ross and Nancy Wilmot were evicted from their Beal Street apartment in Norway in late January, and friends from across the street offered to let Ross and Wilmot stay with them until they could arrange to move in with Ross' daughter in New Hampshire. After three weeks, the friends asked Ross and Wilmot to leave, which they did, but left their belongings in the apartment.

According to police records, one of those friends sent a text message to Wilmot asking her to remove their belongings on Feb. 12, and Ross came to the apartment and was confrontational.

According to witness statements, when Ross arrived at the apartment, he threatened to tap his friends' phones and to physically harm them both if they didn't leave him alone.

Ross was charged with criminal threatening on Feb. 15 in connection with that incident.

Suicidal Springfield Jail inmate sought to speak with nurse

But Kit Milo Brittain failed to fill out a form that would have let him meet with a mental health professional

SPRINGFIELD — A man who committed suicide in the Springfield Municipal Jail asked to see a nurse while in custody, but did not fill out a jail-issued form that would have allowed him to meet with a medical or mental health professional, city officials said Thursday.

Jail officers found the incomplete form in the cell where Kit Milo Brittain used a bedsheet to hang himself on Sunday evening, Police Chief Jerry Smith said.

At some point during his eight-day stay in the jail, Brittain indicated in a general request form that he wanted to speak with a nurse regarding an unspecified problem, officials said.

But the city jail requires inmates to complete a separate form to obtain medical or mental health services. Smith said an officer gave the second form to Brittain, who did not return it.

Had Brittain filled out that form, “a nurse would have looked at it and arranged a visit for him,” Smith said.

The jail charges inmates $5 to see a nurse. However, Smith said inmates are billed later for the service, and not all end up paying.

“We’re not going to refuse someone (treatment) just because they’re indigent,” Smith said. “We have a duty to protect people in the jail, and we take that seriously.”

Brittain, 29, had been held in the jail since Feb. 26. At no point during his stay did he indicate to jail officials that he might be suicidal, Smith said.

An inmate who shared a cell with Brittain for several days last week said he was “totally surprised” to learn of the suicide, although he said Brittain appeared troubled during his jail stay.

“He didn’t give me any clues that he was going to kill himself. If he had, I would’ve told someone,” said Steven DeVilviss, who contacted The Register-Guard by telephone.

Brittain “did give clues that something was wrong,” DeVilviss said. “He kept whining about the time (he expected to spend in jail) and about his girlfriend leaving him.”

Smith confirmed that DeVilviss and Brittain had been cellmates.

Brittain’s mother, Sharon Bayn of Salem, said she also believes that her son was depressed about a recent break-up.

Bayn said she last spoke with her son by telephone on Sunday, several hours before he died.

“He was very upset,” Bayn said during a phone interview. She declined to discuss additional details of her final conversation with her son.

Jail officers removed DeVilviss from the cell he shared with Brittain earlier in the day on Sunday, after DeVilviss squabbled with another inmate, officials said.

Brittain was alone in a cell when he hanged himself. Jail officials found him unconscious during a routine hourly check. Officers and responding medics could not revive him.

Oregon State Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding Brittain’s suicide.

Meanwhile, city police are conducting a separate review to determine whether jail officials dealt appropriately with Brittain while he was in custody.

Springfield police said they arrested Brittain on Feb. 26 after he was seen urinating on a vehicle in a parking lot. He was wrestled into custody after running from officers, Smith said.

Brittain faced misdemeanor charges of urinating in public, escape and resisting arrest. He was on probation at the time of his death.

Brittain was incarcerated in the Lane County Jail from Nov. 23 until Jan. 19 on a charge of unlawful use of a weapon.

Lane County sheriff’s Lt. Larry Brown said inmate records include no information to indicate Brittain was unstable during his stay in the county jail.




Ryan Robertson, Arnold Sharkey, Christopher Goldner: Jail Inmates 'Slumped' to Their Deaths

March 10, 2011
Rick Anderson

Despite the oversight of the Justice Department and a new emphasis on preventing suicides in the King County Jail, there seems almost no way to stop inmates determined to take their own lives, judging by newly released records on the death of three prisoners who killed themselves in a one-month stretch last year. Ryan Robertson, 33, Arnold Sharkey, 45, and Christopher Goldner, 32, were all reported by the media as hanging victims, but to be more precise, each of them slumped to their deaths, records now show. With fewer ways to insert a sheet or other objects into overhead devices and dangle to their deaths, the inmates tied sheets or clothing to beds and fixtures, then sat or leaned forward as their nooses asphyxiated them.


Robertson, for example, was found Sept. 20 in his cell with his uniform pants tied around his neck and looped through the plumbing to his toilet. Arrested two days earlier for an attempted robbery at Uwajimaya, he persistently slumped forward until he could no longer breathe. Though he was resuscitated, he died eight days later at Harborview Medical Center. He had earlier complained of chest pains and at one point fell from his bunk, but had given no sign he was suicidal, the jail says in its death report.

Sharkey, who died seven days earlier, had been arrested August 26 at Sea-Tac Airport on a felony warrant. He had worked for the Jacksonville, Florida, Sheriff's Office for 20 years, then resigned after he was convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon--ramming a vehicle carrying his ex-wife and her brother. He later violated probation, and a warrant was issued for his arrest on the day he was passing through Sea-Tac.

He told police he was surprised the warrant made its way into the system so fast, and said he'd been on his way to Alaska "to start a new life." Jail officials later learned he was suicidal when told by Florida authorities he had talked about "suicide by cop." He was originally placed in the jail's psychiatric unit, then moved to general housing on August 31.

On September 10 he was found hanging from an upper bunk with a sheet tied around his neck. CPR was started, and when fire department medics arrived, they got a pulse and Sharkey began breathing again. But, like Robertson, his brain was badly damaged by the loss of oxygen, and he died three days later at Harborview.

On that day, September 13, the jail was made aware by Florida authorities of a letter Sharkey had recently sent to a Florida judge, asking for help on his case. "I will not survive being incarcerated either because I will be placed in isolation or because I am a police officer. My life is in your hands," he wrote. Had the jail known this sooner, Sharkey might have been returned to the psych unit under suicide watch.

Goldner, also arrested for a domestic dispute as well as parole violation, wasn't thought to be suicidal when he was jailed in March last year. But in May he slit his wrists, and after medical treatment was sent to the psych floor. By June, he was declared "no longer suicidal," according to the jail log. He continued to get into disputes with inmates and jail officers. He cut one wrist again in July, and told officers there would be a "bloodbath" if he didn't get a psych appointment.

On August 11, he began to bang his head on a cell door and said he was planning to hang himself with a sheet. He was seen by a nurse, and later said "I'm all right." But five days later, he was indeed found with a sheet around his neck tied to his cell sink. He had made a noose of the sheet and just sat down and waited for it to strangle him. He could not be revived.

After the three died in succession, the jail announced it was once again reviewing its procedures for suicide prevention. In 2007, the Justice Department found that prevention training at the downtown jail "falls far below generally accepted correctional practices." The DOJ later reached a settlement with the jail, which was accused of violating the civil rights of its prisoners. The DOJ publishes regular reports on how the jail is improving, or not, and in October, the last report issued, said:

"As stated in previous reports," the jail has "remained completely cooperative [and] accepting of the corrective actions . . . and often willing to listen to recommendations...That said, in must be noted that following our July 2010 monitoring tour, the [jail] experienced three suicides in the span of five weeks." Was the jail still failing to do the right thing at the right time to prevent such deaths? That would be reviewed and will be taken up in the next report, the DOJ promises.

Inmate Found Dead at WV Jail

March 16, 2011

Authorities are investigating the death of an inmate at the Southern Regional Jail in Beaver.

Media outlets report that 35-year-old Euseph Shehab of Ansted was found dead in his cell Tuesday. The cause hasn't been determined.

State police and correctional officials are investigating.

Shehab had been jailed since February on charges related to the death of his cousin, 25-year-old Jamie Withrow of Hico. Police say Shehab admitted to accidentally shooting Withrow in the head.

Harnett inmate dies after altercation

March 16, 2011
Nancy McCleary

LILLINGTON - An inmate in the Harnett County Jail died Monday after Detention Officers used an electronic stun gun to subdue him during an altercation.

Brandon Jolvon Bethea, 24, of Fayetteville, was pronounced dead about 2:15 p.m. at Betsy Johnson Regional Hospital, according to a news release from the Harnett County Sheriff's Office.

Bethea had been jailed since Jan. 23 when Dunn police charged him with two counts of attempted first-degree sex offense, attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon, possession of a firearm by a felon and selling or distributing a counterfeit substance, Sheriff Larry Rollins said today.

Bethea's bail was set at $150,000.

Bethea had been taken to the courthouse for a hearing Tuesday morning, Rollins said.

When Bethea returned about 12:30 p.m., he was put into a holding cell near the detention center's intake section, Rollins said.

That was when the altercation happened inside the holding cell, Rollins said.

He would not give the details because of the pending investigation.

The cell is equipped with surveillance cameras that are monitored by jail workers, Rollins said.

Within about 30 minutes, he said, the staff noticed that Bethea was unresponsive and not breathing, Rollins said.

Workers performed CPR until an ambulance arrived, Rollins said.

A detention officer, identified only as J. Clark, has been put on administrative leave, Rollins said.

He would not give the officer's first name, but said the jailer was "a competent and experienced detention officer."

Rollins also asked the State Bureau of Investigation to look into the matter.

"Anytime something like this occurs, you just feel like it's a more prudent way to carry out an investigation, to let an outside agency do it," Rollins said.

An autopsy is being done to determine the cause of Bethea's death, Rollins said.

Inmate dies at Scott County Jail

March 17, 2011
Brian Wellner

An inmate at the Scott County Jail died after he was found unresponsive in his cell early Thursday, Sheriff Dennis Conard said.

Correctional Officers making their security rounds found Robert Allen Wulf, 47, of Davenport, unresponsive at 12:05 a.m.

Correctional staff, jail medical staff and fire and rescue responded but were unable to resuscitate Wulf.

An autopsy was scheduled for Thursday afternoon. Conard said there were “no obvious signs” of what caused his death.

Wulf was being treated for various medical issues at the jail, Conard said, adding he could not elaborate on what those were.

Wulf faced charges of second-degree sexual abuse and third-degree sexual abuse in connection with incidents that occurred between January 2005 and Aug. 13, 2010, police said. The incidents began when the victim, who now is 14, was 9 years old, police said.

He was arrested in August and was set to go to trial Monday on those charges, according to court records.

Wulf was in a jail cell by himself and classified “protected status,” which is routine for those charged with sex crimes, Conard said.

He was last seen about 9 p.m. Wednesday eating a snack and reading a book in his cell, Conard said.

The sheriff's office is investigating the death with the Scott County medical examiner.

The last inmate to die while in custody at the Scott County Jail was Jerry Tex Wilcox in April 1999 in a suicide, Conard said.

Inmate commits suicide in St. Joe County Jail
St. Joseph County, Ind.

March 18, 2011
Rich Molina

Officers at the St. Joseph County Jail found an inmate hanging in his cell shortly after midnight Friday.

Medics tried to resuscitate him, but they were unsuccessful.

The inmate had only been in jail for about a day after he was arrested at a local hospital.

His name will not be released until family members are notified.

Officials say video has been reviewed and all procedures for checking on the inmates were followed.

According to protocol, the Metro Homicide Unit will investigate the death.

Marshall County Jail inmate dies

Sheriff Walls: No foul play suspected in woman’s death

March 18, 2011
Elizabeth Summers

Marshall County Sheriff Scott Walls is leading an investigation into the death of a female inmate from his jail.

According to Marshall County Sheriff’s Office Deputy and Public Information Officer Heath Thomas, Regina Theresa Carr, 47, of Arab, collapsed just before 8 a.m. Tuesday inside the jail’s dorm.

She was transported to Marshall Medical Center North for treatment and later transferred to Huntsville Hospital.

Thomas said Carr had not complained of sickness to jail or medical staff prior to her collapse.

After being transferred to Huntsville Hospital, she was alert and talking, but was later placed on life support.

Friday, Carr’s immediate family made the decision to remove her from life support and she died shortly after.

Walls said no foul play is indicated in her death.

“We feel like it was a death due to natural causes,” Walls said. “As always, we want a complete and thorough review of all her records of her time incarcerated here with us.”

Carr and her boyfriend, William J. Dooley, 32, of Joppa, were arrested by Marshall County Sheriff’s Investigators and charged with manufacturing methamphetamines.

Dooley was able to post bond, but Carr remained in jail.

Thomas said department protocol is for Marshall County District Attorney Steve Marshall to conduct an investigation into the death.

Carr’s body has been taken to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences for an autopsy. The autopsy was expected to be conducted Friday, Walls said. Once complete, the autopsy results will be presented to a Marshall County Grand Jury.


White County, Ill., inmate dies in Jail

— An inmate being held at the White County jail at Carmi, Ill., on a disorderly conduct charge died early this morning after being found unresponsive in his jail cell.

White County Sheriff Doug Maier reports that correctional officers checked on Joseph D. Jordan, Jr., 52 of Carmi, at 12:07 a.m. and he was said to be "alert". At 12:42 a.m., he was found to be "unresponsive," Sheriff Maier said. An ambulance was dispatched as correctional officers performed CPR until EMT's arrived.

Jordan was taken to Hamilton Memorial Hospital in McLeansboro where he was pronounced dead at 1:25 a.m. At this time, no cause of death has been established.

Hamilton County Coroner Ron Ewald has scheduled an autopsy at the White County Morgue in Carmi this afternoon. As required for any in-custody death, the Illinois Department of Corrections has been notified and will file a report.

Police records indicate Jordan was arrested at 9:45 p.m. Thursday at 604 Sycamore St. in Carmi by Carmi City Police on a disorderly conduct charge.

South Ga. Jail under scrutiny after Fulton inmate found DEAD

Investigators from the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office and Georgia Bureau of Investigation will travel to southwest Georgia Monday to survey jail conditions after the death of a local inmate.

Fabian Avery III, 17, was found dead Friday in his cell at the Pelham Pre-Release Center, located about an hour north of Tallahassee, Fla.

An autopsy is scheduled for Monday, GBI spokesman John Bankhead told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Avery was one of several Fulton County inmates being held in Pelham to alleviate overcrowding in the Rice Street jail. Inmates from Gwinnett, Johns Creek and Sandy Springs are also housed there.

Agents from the Thomasville regional office of the GBI are investigating the death, Bankhead said.

A Fulton County Sheriff’s spokeswoman said Avery was recently sentenced. Fulton jail records show Avery was arrested in December on multiple charges, including aggravated assault and armed robbery, and has since been sentenced.

“On Monday, high-ranking commanders from the Fulton County Jail are going to visit the facility to survey conditions,” spokeswoman Tracy Flanagan said Saturday.

Pelham police responded to the death. On Saturday, Pelham police referred questions to Investigator Roy Williams, but said he would not be available until Monday.

Earlier this month, Johns Creek signed a contract with Pelham to pay $35 a day per inmate to house long-term prisoners. Sandy Springs and Gwinnett County also house inmates in Pelham, in addition to Fulton.

Pelham Police operate the 354-bed facility, which was decommissioned by the Georgia Department of Corrections in 2008.

Williams, of Pelham police, told Fox 5 that Avery “wasn’t eating right so he was put in isolation to monitor his food intake.”

Avery’s family told Fox 5 that the teen had complained of being sick and getting poor treatment. The family could not be reached for comment Saturday.

In 2005, Fulton signed a contract to send hundreds of inmates to the southwest Georgia facility to meet a federal court order mandating the inmate population be kept under 2,250. Inmates were also sent to Decatur County, Polk County and several facilities in Georgia.

At the time, Fulton agreed to pay $35 a day per inmate for food, clothing and transport.

The 2005 move was temporarily halted after defense attorneys filed a lawsuit, arguing the moves would make it difficult for attorneys to visit the inmates. The inmate transfers were approved after the sheriff’s office agreed to only move inmates who had already been sentenced or were waiting to be picked up by the state corrections department.

Inmate found dead in LaPorte County Jail
St. Joseph County, Ind.

March 19, 2011

An inmate has been found dead at the LaPorte County Jail.

The LaPorte County Sheriff's Department says the inmate was found early Saturday morning.

No details are being released until immediate family is notified.

Friday, an inmate died of an apparent suicide from hanging at the St. Joseph County Jail.

Shreveport Police investigate inmate's death

March 19, 2011

Shreveport, LA(KSLA)- The Shreveport Police Department is currently investigating the death of a City Jail inmate. 

On the evening of Thursday March 1th7, Jimmy R. Thomas, 26, complained to the jail staff of dizziness and stomach pains and was immediately transported to LSU Health Sciences Center. 

Thomas was admitted to the hospital for further diagnosis and treatment, but died the next day. Hospital staff immediately notified Shreveport Police of his death.

Jimmy Thomas had been in the City Jail since Tuesday, March 15th, when he was arrested for Domestic Abuse Battery and outstanding traffic warrants. 

According to Shreveport Police, Mr. Thomas had a history of health issues which may have contributed to his death.  The exact cause of death will be determined by the Caddo Parish Coroner's Office.  However, the incident remains under investigation.

Maine man dies in Jail; Sheriff says natural cause

March 22, 2011

A Maine sheriff says a jail inmate who died while serving a 90-day sentence suffered a brain aneurysm.

Sixty-one-year-old Richard Greco of Dixfield died Saturday night at the Somerset County Jail in Madison.

Sheriff Barry Delong tells the Sun Journal newspaper jail staff started CPR on Greco and emergency personnel were on the scene within 11 minutes, but Greco could not be revived.

Greco was serving a sentence for his involvement in a fatal 2009 crash in Wilton.

Sevier Jail inmate died after overdose

Autopsy: Man found unconscious in cell had taken hydrocodone

March 22, 2011
Natalie Neysa Alund
Knoxville News Sentinel

An autopsy shows a Sevier County Jail inmate who died hours after going into police custody last month had overdosed on hydrocodone.

The report on Derek Lewis Pitts' cause of death was prepared by Knox County Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Steven Cogswell with the Regional Forensic Center in Knoxville. Cogswell conducted the Feb. 5 autopsy at the request of Sevier County officials.

The autopsy also revealed Pitts had heart disease due to alcoholism.

In Cogswell's autopsy report, he wrote that he found a blue granular substance in Pitts' nose. Doctors had been awaiting toxicology reports to determine what it was.

Pitts, 47, of Knoxville was jailed Feb. 3 following a chase that started in Sevier County and ended in Knoxville, arrest warrants show. Authorities said Pitts appeared to be intoxicated at the time.

Sevier County Sheriff Ron Seals said Pitts acted unruly as officers attempted to book him into jail. Later that evening, Pitts was found unconscious in his cell. He was transported to Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

As part of standard protocol, Seals said he requested an autopsy be performed and that the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation investigate the death.



Officials: Indiana inmate died after swallowing drug

March 22, 2011

LAPORTE, Ind. (AP) — Northern Indiana officials say a jail inmate who died after suffering a seizure behind bars had swallowed a bag of cocaine hours before to hide it from officers who arrested him on a drunken driving charge.

The Times of Munster reports that 37-year-old Roy E. Young of Michigan City died Saturday at a local hospital after suffering a seizure at the LaPorte County Jail in LaPorte. The county coroner says a bag of cocaine was found in Young's intestines during an autopsy.

WSBT-TV reports the autopsy showed Young died from a cardiac arrhythmia brought on by a drug overdose and that his death was ruled an accident.

Young's cellmate says Young told him he swallowed a bag of cocaine as police were arresting him early Saturday for driving while intoxicated.


St. Johns County Inmate Dies after Falling in Jail Cell

March 23, 2011

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. -- An inmate fell in her cell Tuesday and has died.

According to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office, 37-year-old Dorothy Monette Lightsey fell to the ground shortly after midnight Tuesday.

The nurse at the jail responded and called for rescue personnel.

Lightsey, who was being held on a warrant for failure to appear on a drug charge, was conscious as she was being taken to Flagler Hospital, where she later died.

An autopsy is being performed today to determine the cause of death, but the sheriff's office said there is currently no evidence of foul play.


Inmate dies in hospital

March 25, 2011
Nathaniel Miller

After being taken off of life support, an Ector County Jail inmate died Friday morning at Medical Center Hospital.

Juan Carrasco was transported Tuesday afternoon to MCH after officials said he suffered a seizure while being booked in.  He was pronounced dead at 9:57 a.m. Friday morning, an Ector County Medical Examiner’s Office representative said.

According to Sheriff Mark Donaldson, Carrasco was being booked on a misdemeanor theft by check charge out of Travis County when suddenly he “sat straight up and fell backwards, hitting his head (on a concrete floor).”

Carrasco was taken to the MCH afterwards, but supervisors at the detention center failed to notify Carrasco’s family in the process. Naomi Carrasco, Juan Carrasco’s mother, did not know her son was at the hospital until she was called by a hospital staff member almost 12 hours after his arrival.

Naomi Carrasco, family members and friends planned to gather in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit around 7 a.m. Friday morning to sing “Happy Birthday” before taking Juan Carrasco off life support. He turned 33.

Harris County Jail inmate's death ruled a homicide

March 26, 2011

The death of a 72-year-old paranoid schizophrenic inmate who suffered serious head injuries at the Harris County Jail was ruled a homicide Thursday, according to an autopsy's findings.

Norman Ford Hicks Sr. of Houston died Jan. 22 from complications of a heart attack after he suffered blunt head trauma and a broken nose, the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences said.

Hicks' family said a Harris County Sheriff's Office homicide sergeant investigating the case told them back in January that Hicks had a serious altercation with a sheriff's office staff member and that it was standard procedure for the homicide division to investigate such cases.

The sheriff's office has refused to say whether any of its deputies or employees had an altercation with Hicks, and if so, whether those involved remain on duty. The agency also has refused to say if any disciplinary action has been taken against anyone in the case, citing an ongoing internal investigation.

The sheriff's office refused to answer the same questions again Thursday after it was revealed Hicks' death was determined to be a homicide.

Hicks' children were furious to learn their father's death was a homicide. They said they are angry with the continuing silence from the sheriff's office and the agency's refusal to answer their questions.

How Hicks died "hurts my heart because that tells me somebody did it — he didn't do it to himself," said his daughter, Marie Hicks-Fields, 51, of Houston.

Norman Ford Hicks Sr., who was on probation, had been in custody at the Harris County Jail at 1200 Baker St. since Jan. 7 after he was arrested in Oklahoma City and transferred back to Harris County.

Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Christina Garza said in January that Hicks was in violation of his probation related to a charge of aggravated assault on a relative.

She confirmed at that time Hicks suffered head injuries when he had an altercation at the jail on Jan. 16 but would not say who was involved in the struggle with him.

Hicks, of the 10400 block of Royal Oaks, died Jan. 22 at Ben Taub General Hospital after his children made the decision to discontinue life support.

Fractures, brain trauma

Doctors told his family he had suffered multiple facial fractures and severe brain trauma. His daughter said Hicks' face was so badly damaged they could not have an open casket at his funeral.

"His face was so disfigured by the time the funeral home got him, there was not much they could do to make his face look presentable," Hicks-Fields said. "All this happened because somebody killed him. I still say somebody inside that jail killed my dad."

She also was upset to learn from the news media how her father died instead of hearing it from the authorities. "You shouldn't have been the one to give us that information — it should have been internal affairs or the (district attorney's) office," she said.

The case has not yet been reviewed by a grand jury, but the Harris County District Attorney's Police Integrity Division is investigating Hicks' death, said First Assistant Jim Leitner. Prosecutors and investigators with the integrity division were scheduled to meet with Hicks' family later Thursday afternoon, Leitner said.

In a short statement released Thursday, the sheriff's office suggested Hicks' death may not be a "murder" just because his death was ruled a homicide.

"We take any loss of life seriously, whether it's that of an inmate, an employee or any other person," said the sheriff's office statement. "It's important to note that a homicide doesn't necessarily constitute a criminal act. Take an action made in self-defense as an example. All murders are homicides, but not all homicides are murders."

Not from natural causes

A ruling of homicide means the death was not a result of natural causes, an accident or suicide.

The sheriff's office's criminal investigation is continuing. Hicks' cause of death "and any other findings will certainly be taken into consideration," Garza wrote in the statement. She declined to comment further because of the ongoing probe.

Hicks' other daughter, Evangeline Hicks Campbell, 50, of Katy, said she was in shock to learn of the homicide ruling, but added, "I knew it. I knew it. I knew it.

"Aside from being really hurt, I am totally furious," she said. "It's sickening. It's totally sickening because I can picture it. I can see it. The person who did this, I don't know if they're still collecting a paycheck.

"I just want to see how fast justice is going to be done. I don't want the runaround anymore — we've been given the runaround since day one ... They've been covering this up from day one, I'm telling you," she said.

The Houston Chronicle filed an open record request Feb. 2 seeking the names and job titles of any sheriff's office staff involved in the altercation with Hicks, whether that employee or those staff members remain on duty and whether any disciplinary action has been taken in the case. The sheriff's office refused to release any of the information and asked the Texas Attorney General's Office to determine what should be released.

A ruling has not yet been made.


Jail killing: L.A. County inmate killed weeks after Judge asks that Sheriff's officials review his safety

The Judge asked for a reassessment of the inmate's housing situation, saying he had been 'hassled' in the Jail. But sheriff's officials have no record of having received his request.

March 25, 2011
Robert Faturechi
Los Angeles Times

A Los Angeles County Jail inmate who expressed concerns about his safety was strangled in his cell weeks after a judge asked that sheriff's officials reevaluate the man's custody arrangements, according to court records and interviews.

Sheriff's officials said they had no records showing they had received the judge's request or reassessed Jonathan Najera's housing situation.

The possibility that the judge's request never reached sheriff's officials and the lack of records to clarify what happened represent a potentially dangerous flaw in communication between jail and court officials, inmate advocates say.

Records show the 20-year-old inmate did move to another cell on the same floor a day after the judge's request, but authorities suspect that move was the result of routine jail flow. Whether the move addressed the inmate's complaints of being "hassled" by other inmates is unknown, authorities said.

Homicide detectives have remained tight-lipped about the jailhouse attack earlier this month and have not released the name of Najera's cellmate who allegedly confessed to the killing.

Najera, who was in jail for attempted murder, shared a cell on the third floor of Men's Central Jail with three others. Authorities said they believe he was killed overnight. His body was discovered by deputies when it was apparently dragged out by one of his cellmates during a morning "pill call," in which some inmates receive medications. His killing wasn't detected for hours because deputies doing the rounds thought he was asleep.

At a hearing about a month earlier, Judge Daniel Feldstern and Najera's attorney discussed the inmate's safety concerns. Based on that off-the-record discussion, the judge said in court that Najera had been "somewhat hassled by other inmates in his current custodial setting. So I would just simply ask the Sheriff's [Department] to reexamine his circumstances and consider putting him in a place where he can avoid that kind of contact."

In an interview, attorney Steven Flanagan said his client wouldn't tell him specifically why he felt unsafe. "He didn't want anything on the record," Flanagan said. "You can't go back to county jail with something on a piece of paper that indicates you want to go somewhere else."

Court orders from judges are generally noted in a minute order and communicated to the Sheriff's Department through the bailiff. In Najera's case, it appears the judge's request did not reach the level of a court order.

Sacto 9-1-1

Inmate in Sacramento Jail dies after fight

March 27, 2011
Laurel Rosenhall

An inmate of the Sacramento Main Jail died Saturday after getting in a fight with another inmate the day before, according to authorities.

Inmate Eugene Carr fought with another inmate on Friday morning and was later transported to the hospital, where he died on Saturday, said Sacramento Sheriff's Department spokesman Jason Ramos.

The Coroner's Office said Carr was 58 years old.

A search of Sacramento court records shows a man named Eugene Carr pled no contest to petty theft in December and was sentenced to a year in jail.

Birmingham Jail prisoner dies following hanging in cell

March 28, 2011
Carol Robinson

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama - A Birmingham man died Sunday, five days after he was found hanging in his cell at the Birmingham City Jail.

Britt Alvin Connell, 25, was jailed on March 18 on a charge of third-degree theft of property, authorities said. On March 22, Connell was found hanging by a bed sheet in his cell at the jail on Sixth Avenue South.

He was taken to UAB hospital and remained in the Intensive Care Unit until he was pronounced dead at 10:30 a.m. Sunday.

An investigation into the death is underway.

Inmate dies in holding cell

Officials perform autopsy, but findings not released pending toxicology results

March 29, 2011
Gwinnett Daily Post

A 26-year-old Grayson man died Saturday afternoon in a holding cell at the Gwinnett County Jail, officials said.

Pima County Jail Inmate Dead after Swallowing Bag

March 30, 2011

TUCSON, Ariz. - Authorities say a Pima County Jail inmate is dead after swallowing a plastic bag filled with an unknown substance and fighting with Corrections Officers.

Corrections officials say they noticed 47-year-old Michael Stephen Judge acting suspiciously in his cell about 2 a.m. Tuesday.

Officers tried to talk to Judge and they say he swallowed the plastic bag and began fighting with the officers and then stopped breathing.

Authorities say they tried to revive him with CPR, the Heimlich Maneuver and an automated defibrillator until paramedics arrived.

They say paramedics pulled the bag from Judge's throat and discovered the unknown substance.

Judge later was pronounced dead at Tucson hospital.

County sheriff's officials said Wednesday that an autopsy is planned and they're investigating the inmate's death.

Inmate commits suicide at county jail

March 30, 2011
Tom Knapp

Prison inmate died March 22 after a fall from an upper level of the facility.

John H. Kruger, 50, was pronounced dead at Lancaster General Hospital from injuries sustained at the prison, Lancaster County Coroner Dr. Stephen Diamantoni said Tuesday.

The cause of death was "traumatic head injuries," Diamantoni said, and the manner of death was suicide.

Kruger, of 7 Grafton Circle, was in jail on charges stemming from an alleged assault in January.

Prison warden Vincent Guarini did not immediately return several phone messages on Tuesday.

District Attorney Craig Stedman, however, confirmed that police are looking into Kruger's death.

"It's an ongoing investigation. When it's complete, we'll release our conclusions," he said. "I don't get the impression it will be a lengthy investigation."

A caller who is familiar with Kruger's case but declined to be identified said Tuesday the Lancaster native had a history of psychiatric problems and was off his medication when the fatal fall occurred.

Kruger had only recently been released into the general population from the prison's mental health unit, the caller said. The caller said Kruger was a suicide risk and was supposed to be under watch.

Kruger's attorney, Michael Marinaro, said he will meet this week with members of Kruger's family to determine if they wish to pursue legal action against the prison.

Kruger was arrested Jan. 18 and charged with simple assault after allegedly choking his wife into unconsciousness, Marinaro said.

His family posted $10,000 bail for his release, the attorney said, "and yet my client decided that he didn't want to leave prison. That's highly unusual."

Marinaro represented Kruger at a preliminary hearing before District Judge Mary Sponaugle, he said.

Kruger's wife appeared at the hearing to testify against him, Marinaro said, but refused to see him.

"All he wanted to do was see his wife," Marinaro said.

When she wouldn't see him, he waived the hearing and petitioned to have his charges heard in Mental Health Court.

"We knew there was a problem mentally with him," Marinaro said. "He was incredibly unstable."

The attorney was in the process of preparing the application when he learned of Kruger's death.

"I didn't think he was at that point, where he would take his own life," Marinaro said.

"I knew he was depressed. I told him to keep his head up; things were going to get better."

The charge against Kruger was a misdemeanor, he said.

"I told him, as long as he gets his mental health in check, he could lead a productive life," Marinaro said. "I thought I had gotten through to him."

Marinaro said he did not know why Kruger was released from the mental health unit — and he was unaware that Kruger was on a suicide watch.

"I'm unfamiliar with (prison) policy," he said.

"I'm not a psychiatrist, but my dealings with Mr. Kruger showed that he was very paranoid. Depressed. He didn't suffer from schizophrenia that I knew of, but he did suffer from depression."

Marinaro said he had met with Kruger's mother, sister and brother-in-law, and "all were agreeable that he should go into a facility."

According to a Sunday News article published earlier this month, at least seven lawsuits charging serious abuse by correctional officers or neglect by medical and other personnel at the county prison are now in the federal court system.

They include two cases in which prison inmates committed suicide and one in which an inmate died because of alleged medical neglect.

The county prison board has recommended that prisoners with mental health problems be more closely monitored by correctional officers, although the county's legal response to the lawsuits has been to deny all charges.

Waffle House Murder Suspect Dies In Jail

Inmate Accused Of Beating Man To Death Has Heart Attack

April 1, 2011

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A Duval County Jail inmate who was about to go on trial in the robbery and killing of a Waffle House customer has died. 

Antonio McNeil, 38, died Thursday of an apparent heart attack, according to jail documents. He collapsed in a jail stairwell and was rushed to Shands Jacksonville Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

 McNeil was scheduled for trial later this month in the July 2009 beating death of 60-year-old Fred Harris at a Waffle House restaurant on Busch Drive on the Northside.

Police said Harris was carrying hundreds of dollars the night he was killed.

A day later, police arrested McNeil after they said he confessed to the killing.

Harris' son filed a lawsuit against Waffle House, claiming the cashier was McNeil's girlfriend and called him when she saw Harris had a large amount of money in his wallet.

Police said McNeil's girlfriend witnessed the beating and reported it to police. She was not charged with any criminal wrongdoing.

McNeil was found not competent for prosecution in April 2010 and was remanded to a state psychiatric facility.


Theft suspect kills self at County Jail

Andy Leroy Kintzel, 26, of the 1200 block of Putnam Street, died from asphyxia due to hanging. The coroner ruled his death a suicide.

Jail workers found Kintzel at 7:07 p.m. He was being held on felony theft charges. He was accused of stealing alcohol from a local Meijer store several times between January and March 2010.

Released on his own recognizance after his initial arrest earlier this year, Kintzel failed to appear for a court hearing this month. A judge ordered him to be arrested and held without bail.

Police arrested Kintzel on Saturday.

Union Co. inmate collapses, later dies

April 1, 2011

NEW ALBANY — A 19-year-old Guntown woman being held on a child endangerment charge has died after collapsing at the Union County Jail in New Albany.

Sheriff Tommy Wilhite tells the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal that Janice Nichols was awaiting transfer to the Mississippi State Hospital in Whitfield on a judge's order after a state psychiatrist found her mentally incompetent to stand trial.

County Coroner Mark Golding says Nichols collapsed in the shower Thursday and was revived by emergency personnel. He says she died later at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Union County.

Wilhite says an autopsy has been ordered.

Ventura County Sheriffs investigate death of Jail inmate

April 2, 2011
Monte Morin

The Ventura County Sheriff's Department announced that it was investigating the death of an inmate inside a pre-detention facility just after midnight Saturday.

The detainee, Gregory Turnquist, 43, of Ventura, was reported to be unresponsive by a cellmate about 1 a.m., authorities said.  A deputy went to investigate.

In a release on the matter the Sheriff's Department stated the following:

"The deputy immediately summoned additional staff, including a nurse, to assist with life-saving efforts. Paramedics were called to render additional aid. Once the paramedics arrived they conducted their own assessment and treatment of Mr. Turnquist. Mr. Turnquist was unable to be revived and was pronounced dead at approximately 1:15 a.m. by Ventura City Fire Department personnel. Per protocol, Sheriff’s Major Crimes investigators responded to assist with the investigation. The Medical Examiner’s Office responded and an autopsy is pending. Mr. Turnquist was arrested on March 30, 2011, for suspicion of criminal threats and Elder Abuse. Mr. Turnquist was scheduled to appear in Ventura County Superior Court for arraignment on April 3, 2011."

Texas Rangers Asked To Investigate Death Of City Jail Inmate
Texas Rangers have been asked to join the investigation into the death of an inmate who collapsed in a city jail holding facility.

April 4, 2011

GLENN HEIGHTS —The Glenn Heights Police Department has asked Texas Rangers to help investigate the death of a man who was in custody.

Glenn Heights police have not yet identified the inmate who died, pending notification of family members.

Glenn Heights Police Sgt. David Jackson said the 43-year-old man collapsed in the municipal holding facility and was taken to Charlton Methodist Hospital in Dallas, where he was pronounced dead Saturday night.

A determination of the cause of the man’s death is pending.

Further details on the man were not immediately available.

Glenn Heights is 20 miles south of Dallas.

Aurora inmate dies after being Jailed

April 4, 2011
Denver Post

AURORA — A man who was incarcerated at the Aurora jail this weekend has died.

Jeffon Shaw, 37, was arrested late Saturday on two warrants, one a battery charge out of Aurora and the other, third-degree assault from Adams County.

According to officials, Shaw was arrested without incident.

But early Monday, jail staff noticed he was unresponsive. After administering CPR and using a defibrillator on him, he was transported to a local hospital, where he died.

Authorities do not know what caused his death.

"We are always concerned for those in our custody and are saddened by Mr. Shaw's death," Zelda DeBoyes, Aurora's court administrator and detention center director, said in a press release. "This is a serious matter and a thorough investigation into Mr. Shaw's death is underway."

Updated: Inmate dies from suicide at Hays Jail

April 6, 2011
Sean Kimmons

Update: Eric Loyd Dykes, 25, died Monday night as a result of a self-inflicted injury he sustained while in custody at Hays County Jail.

A Hays County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson said Friday that Dykes hanged himself with a towel in his cell on March 26 before he was transported to Seton Medical Center Hays in Kyle, where he was pronounced dead two days later.

The spokesperson said that Dykes had been in jail since January 2010 and was not considered a suicide risk.

Earlier: A 25-year-old inmate sustained a severe self-inflicted injury while incarcerated in Hays County jail on Saturday, authorities say.

Eric Loyd Dykes, of Wimberley, was transported to Seton Medical Center Hays in Kyle around 4 p.m., where he remains hospitalized in serious condition, Hays County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Deputy Laurie Bain said.

Dykes was awaiting trial on numerous charges, including aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony; robbery, a second-degree felony; and harassment, a Class B misdemeanor. He also was in jail for a first-degree felony of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon out of Travis County.

His bonds total an amount of $155,000, according to jail records.

No other details have been released due to a pending investigation by Hays County officials.

Columbia County Inmate Dies

April 6, 2011

An inmate at the Columbia County Jail has died.  The sheriff's office says John Wayne Siple collapsed in a shower at the jail Tuesday.  Despite CPR efforts, we're told he died at Doctors Hospital.  Siple was arrested just a couple weeks ago and was charged with growing marijuana.  The coroner says foul play is not suspected.

Inmate found DEAD in San Jacinto County Jail

April 8, 2011

An inmate was found dead on Friday, April 8, at the San Jacinto County Jail. San Jacinto County Sheriff James Walters issued the following statement:

“On April 8, 2011, at approximately 8:43 a.m., San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Department jail staff discovered a 46-year-old male inmate unresponsive in his bed. Emergency Medical Services immediately arrived but were unable to revive the subject. Sheriff James Walters requested Texas Rangers respond and conduct a parallel investigation into the inmate’s death. San Jacinto County Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Beth Sewell pronounced the subject dead and ordered an autopsy.

“The investigation is ongoing. The inmate’s name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. An update will be provided on Monday, April 11, 2011.”

Telford inmate dies in Jail

April 9, 2011

A Telford man being held in the Washington County Detention Center on a rape charge is dead, but investigators have not released how it happened.

According to a news release from Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal, the man died Thursday.

“There is no foul play suspected at this time,” Graybeal said in the release.

Jesse Hester, 46, of 176 Al Sliger Road, was being held on a rape charge.

He was apparently assigned to a one-man cell and was found needing medical attention in that cell Thursday.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is handling the investigation.

WCSO Chief Operating Officer Leighta Laitinen said the TBI has not authorized anyone to release how Hester died.

No other information was available about Hester’s death.

He was arrested in October after being accused of an attack.

Patrol officers discovered the alleged victim at a neighboring home on Al Sliger Road crying and attempting to get help, police said.

The alleged victim was transported to Johnson City Medical Center, where she was treated for numerous injuries. Deputies quickly developed Hester as a suspect and went to his home to try to speak with him.

Deputies found Hester after he crawled out a back window from the residence in an attempt to avoid officers, suffering a severe laceration to his hand. Hester also had numerous scratches on his face.

Hester was treated at JCMC for injuries he suffered trying to avoid officers.

Hester was being held on a $150,000 and had a court hearing in March, but the case was not settled.

Carter County inmate found dead in her Jail cell

April 12, 2011
Associated Press

ARDMORE, Okla. (AP) - An inmate at the Carter County Jail in Ardmore has been found dead in her jail cell.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation says 52-year-old Patricia Ann Wallace was found dead in her cell about 6 a.m. Tuesday. Wallace had been arrested about two hours earlier by Ardmore police on suspicion of driving under the influence.

OSBI spokeswoman Jessica Brown says county Sheriff Ken Grace asked the OSBI to investigate.

Brown said Wallace was in the cell alone and there is no indication of foul play. She says the body is being sent to the state medical examiner's office in Oklahoma City for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

Inmate found dead in Tift Co. Jail

April 12, 2011
Cade Fowler

TIFTON, GA (WALB) – A Tift County inmate facing several felony charges was found dead inside his cell over the weekend.

Jail officials discovered 35-year-old Armando Muniz unresponsive Saturday afternoon.

He was being held at the Tift County Jail on felony theft by receiving and firearms charges.

The GBI was called in to investigate. Agents say Muniz had an injury to the neck.

They would not say if the death was a suicide, but do not suspect foul play.

Sonoma County Jail inmate dies
in custody

April 14, 2011
Guy Kovner

An inmate at the North County Detention Facility, a part of the Sonoma County Jail, was found in “medical distress” early Thursday and later pronounced dead at Kaiser Medical Center, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office said.

William Jackson, 59, was being treated for a previously diagnosed medical condition, Lt. Dave House said in a press release. No other details of Jackson’s condition or cause of death were given.

Inmate found hanging at Anoka County Jail dies

April 16, 2011
Pamela Miller

An Anoka County Jail inmate died Saturday at Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids after being found hanging from a bedsheet Thursday at the county jail, according to sheriff's officials.

Steven James Carroll, 28, of Anoka, was found hanging by a sheet from a metal seam in the frame of his cell window Thursday afternoon, according to Cmdr. Paul Sommer. The area was in lockdown at the time, and jail personnel had been checking on inmates every 15 minutes. Carroll had been checked on and "was fine" at 2:30 p.m., but minutes later was found hanging from the sheet, Sommer said.

Deputies administered first aid and Carroll was taken by ambulance to Mercy, where he died just after 4:30 a.m. Saturday.

Carroll, who had been in custody since Tuesday, had been charged with felony domestic assault, burglary, disorderly conduct and also was the subject of an arrest warrant from Florida, Sommer said.

He left a suicide note in his pocket, Sommer said. His death remains under investigation.

Chippewa County inmate found DEAD dead in cell

April 17, 2011

Chippewa County Sheriff James Kowalczyk announces that the Chippewa Falls Police Department is investigating the death of a Chippewa County jail inmate. The name of the inmate will be announced upon complete notification of the family of the inmate.

On April 17, 2011 personnel of the Chippewa County Jail notified Chippewa County Sheriff James Kowalczyk, that an inmate at the facility was found unresponsive at around 6:05 am, in a dorm at the Chippewa County Jail. Jail Officers responding to the inmate cell located a male subject in his assigned bed, who failed to react to verbal commands along with physical stimulation. Upon close examination by Jail Personnel it was apparent that the subject was cold to the touch and had expired.

Detectives of the Chippewa Falls Police Department are conducting the investigation, the Chippewa County Coroner, Ronald Patten has schedule for an autopsy to be performed early this week. Further information will be disclosed concerning the identity of the deceased, along with details of the investigation, once the investigation is concluded.

Jail inmate found hanged

April 17, 2011

Lancaster County Sheriff R.D. Crockett has reported the death of Starke Jett, 53, of Reedville, at approximately 2 a.m. April 16 while in custody at the Lancaster County Correctional Center. According to the local medical examiner’s preliminary report, Jett committed suicide by hanging himself.

Jett was arrested on April 14 and ordered held without bond on charges of violation of a protective order, abduction, aggravated malicious wounding and eluding police. His first appearance in court was set for Wednesday April 20 in the Lancaster General District Court.

When booked into the jail, Jett received a medical and mental health screening, as required by the Virginia Department of Corrections, and was informed of the availability of emergency mental health services. According to Capt. Martin Shirilla, the jail staff on numerous occasions offered to contact the emergency mental health counselor to meet with Jett if he so desired. Jett refused all of those offers. An investigation of this event is under way. As required, the Virginia Department of Corrections was notified of Jett’s death at approximately 6 a.m. As soon as all information is obtained, including that from the office of the chief medical examiner, and a thorough review of all the information is made, a final report will be sent to the Virginia Department of Corrections.

Emergency notification requests were sent to the Northumberland sheriff’s office and the Roanoke City Police Department to inform Jett’s family of his death. The release of information about Jett’s death was delayed until such time as the sheriff’s office was assured that Jett’s family had been notified and their immediate questions answered.

Jett was a part-time reporter and photographer at the Rappahannock Record in Kilmarnock.

Authorities investigating DEATH of Arkansas Jail inmate

April 14, 2011
Associated Press

BENTON, Okla. (AP) - Investigators are trying to determine why a man who was arrested for driving while intoxicated died.

The Saline County Sheriff's Department says Casey Babovec was taken into custody for DWI and transported to the Saline County Detention Wednesday afternoon. Four hours later, officials say Babovec began acting "strangely," became agitated and struck another inmate.

After deputies subdued him and placed him in another holding cell alone, they noticed he was unresponsive. An ambulance was called and CPR was administered, but Babovec was pronounced dead at a hospital.

His body was sent to the Arkansas State Crime Lab to determine the exact cause of death.

Genesee County inmate dies of drug overdose; investigation underway to find how how drugs got into Jail

April 18, 2011
David Harris

FLINT, Michigan — Authorities are investigating how a 30-year-old Genesee County Jail inmate, incarcerated since November, overdosed on drugs.

Genesee County Undersheriff Jim Gage said inmate Jesse Goode was found in full arrest in the jail around 4:30 p.m. Saturday. He was taken to Hurley Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

Gage said he did not know what drug Goode overdosed on. A detective is interviewing inmates, Gage said.

Goode has been in jail since Nov. 18 after he was arrested on an operating while under the influence and resisting and obstructing arrest. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail, Gage said.


Female inmate found dead at Danville Jail

April 19, 2011

A female inmate at the Danville City Jail was found “unresponsive” in her cell Tuesday morning and was pronounced dead after rescue personnel were called to the scene.

Danville Sheriff Mike Mondul said in a news release that Cheryl Suzette Keen, 55, of Danville was found dead at about 8:30 a.m.

Deputies contacted emergency rescue personnel, Mondul said, and the Danville Fire Department, Danville Life Saving Crew and Danville Police Department responded.

Keen was pronounced dead, and her body will be transported to the state Medical Examiner's Office in Roanoke for autopsy.

Keen was incarcerated April 12 for trespassing and false activation of an emergency alarm; she was due to appear in Danville General District Court on May 2.

“Keen had notable health issues and was receiving oxygen during her stay in the jail,” Mondul said in the news release. “The Danville Police Department will be conducting the death investigation.”

Inmate who attempted suicide at Bannock County Jail dies from injuries

April 26, 2011

POCATELLO — A 31-year-old Bannock County Jail inmate who hanged himself in the facility’s recreation yard Friday afternoon died Monday at Portneuf Medical Center from his injuries, police said.

Barton R. Galloway’s death is being investigated by detectives with Teton and Jefferson counties. He was being held on two counts of lewd conduct with a minor.

Bannock County Sheriff Lorin Nielsen said a deputy checked on Galloway at about 2 p.m. and found he was distressed, so he agreed to allow Galloway to use the recreation yard to work it off.

Nielsen said the deputy found Galloway attempting to hang himself, using a bed sheet, when he checked on him again and followed the proper procedures.

“Preliminary reports are officers did everything they could do both in monitoring and trying to recover him,” Nielsen said.

Nielsen said the length of time before Galloway’s hanging attempt was discovered is still under investigation.

“Obviously we’re very disappointed when anybody passes away, and it’s even more tragic when they feel that suicide is the answer,” Nielsen said. “We do everything we can to prevent that but we can’t stop all of them.”

Nielsen said jail policy mandates cell checks at least twice per hour, and they’re staggered so inmates don’t know when to expect them.

Inmate found hanged in Leon County Jail

April 26, 2011

A Leon County Jail inmate was found hanging by a sheet in his cell this morning.

A correctional deputy was making his routine rounds about 10:15 a.m. in the jail, when he saw that Stephen S. Campbell, 34, was hanged, an LCSO news release read.

Campbell was booked into the jail Oct. 10, 2010, on DUI, cannabis possession and paraphernalia possession charges, according to jail records.

Staff responded immediately, but Campbell was pronounced dead on scene by medical staff, the release said. His autopsy will be conducted Wednesday.

Marion County Jail Inmate Found Hanging In Cell Dies

A Jail inmate in Marion County has died after being found hanging by his tube socks from his bunk bed Thursday.

According to a spokesman for the Multi-County Jail in Marion, David Furniss, 41, was alone in his cell and unresponsive when found by jail staff.

He had last been observed by correctional officers 11 ½ minutes before being found hanging.

His cellmate was not in the area at the time.

Corrections officers administered CPR until medics arrived. A pulse and blood pressure were restored and Furniss taken to Marion General Hospital.

He was later transported to Grant Hospital in Columbus and died early Friday morning.

He had been jailed Wednesday for a drug-related parole violation and faced 11 months in prison. He had been paroled after serving 10 months for a burglary conviction.

Jail officials said they questioned inmates and no one had information that indicated Furniss might be suicidal.

Inmate dies in Lamar County Jail

Inmate found hanged in Dane County Jail closet

May 1, 2011

Dane County authorities are investigating how a 33-year-old inmate died Friday after he was found hanging in a cleaning closet in the county jail.

Authorities said they believe the inmate attached a ligature to an overhead mechanical pipe in the closet and was found late Friday afternoon. The inmate was housed on the fourth floor of the Public Safety Building in a unit that has direct supervision.

Authorities didn’t release the inmate’s name pending notification of family, but he was in the jail since March 2010.

Inmate found dead in cell

May 3, 2011

A Tehama County Jail inmate was found dead in his cell Saturday.

A Correctional Officer discovered the body of William Lee Hawthorne Jr., 30, of Red Bluff, hanging from a bed sheet tied off to the railing of a top bunk, the Tehama County Sheriff's Departent reported.

The discovery came during a routine hourly security check at 3:18 a.m., the Sheriff's Department reported.

Hawthorne had been in the jail since Wednesday.  Officers and emergency medical personnel attempted to resuscitate Hawthorne. He was pronounced dead at 3:43 a.m., the Sheriff's Department reported.

During the previous bed check, about an hour before the body was discovered, Hawthorne was seen by an officer apparently sleeping in his cell where he was housed alone, the Sheriff's Department reported.

An autopsy is pending. The matter is being investigated as a suicide, the Sheriff's Department reported.

Hawthorne was arrested and jailed on Wednesday by the Red Bluff police for reportedly trying to steal prescription drugs at knife point from an occupant of a local motel, according to police.

During a felony arraignment in Tehama County Superior Court on Friday, Hawthorne was charged with home invasion and resisting arrest. Bail was set at $150,000, according to court documents.

Macomb County Jail officials investigate inmate's suicide

April 26, 2011

Mount Clemens Sheriff's deputies are investigating the weekend suicide of a Macomb County Jail inmate.

Sheriff Anthony Wickersham said a corrections officer conducting rounds found the 51-year-old man hanging in his cell in the maximum-security section about 8:30 p.m.

Sunday. Wickersham said the man had been incarcerated for a couple of weeks on charges of assault with a dangerous weapon.

Isolated Johnson Co. Jail inmate dies

April 27, 2011

FRANKLIN, Ind. (WISH) - A Johnson County Jail inmate found unresponsive in his cell died, 24-Hour News 8’s news partner, the Daily Journal, reports.

The inmate, a 37-year-old man, was in an isolated jail cell. He was arrested on a charge of probation violation. Officials say he was going through alcohol withdrawal and was under the care of a jail nurse.

When he was discovered unresponsive, he was taken to Johnson Memorial Hospital in Franklin, before being taken to Methodist Hospital, where he died.

The Johnson County sheriff said an autopsy was scheduled for Wednesday.

UPDATE:  Leon County Jail Inmate Death
An inmate at the Leon County jail is found dead from an apparent suicide.

April 28, 2011
Julie Montanaro

An autopsy completed Wednesday confirms Stephen Campbell died of asphyxiation, an LCSO Spokesman said.

MAJ Mike Wood says Campbell was in the general population and correctional officers there must make visual checks on each inmate every hour.

Leon County Jail Inmate Death

On April 26, 2011, at approximately 10:15 AM, Leon County Jail Inmate Stephen S. Campbell was found hanging in his cell. Correctional staff was making routine rounds within the pod when it was observed that Campbell had used a sheet to hang himself.

Correctional staff and Jail Medical staff responded immediately, however, Campbell was pronounced dead on scene by Medical staff. An autopsy will be conducted on April 27, 2011.

Stephen S. Campbell
DOB: 03/05/77
Booking date: 10/10/10
Charges: DUI, Possession of Cannabis, and Possession of Paraphernalia


Tallahassee, FL - An inmate at the Leon County jail is found dead from an apparent suicide.

Deputies say a correctional officer making routine rounds around 10 this morning found 34 year old Stephen Campbell unresponsive in his cell...

A Leon County Sheriff spokesperson says Campbell used a sheet to hang himself. An autospty is scheduled for tomorrow.

Campbell was serving time for DUI and posession of marijuana.

Inmate dies at Richmond City Jail Annex

Authorities are investigating the death of an inmate at the Richmond City Jail Annex.

May 3, 2011

Sheriff C.T. Woody Jr. this morning said Paul R. Westbury Jr., 56, was found unresponsive in his cell late Sunday night and efforts to revive him were unsuccessful. There were no signs of foul play, Woody said.

Woody said Westbury's family was notified of his death late Monday night.

Woody's office and Richmond Police are investigating the death. The Richmond medical examiner's office this morning said the cause and manner of death are pending and that the office is awaiting test results before making a determination.

Westbury, who had a lengthy history of alcohol-related offenses in Richmond, was arrested by city police on a misdemeanor charge and turned over to the sheriff's office early Sunday evening.

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