Inmate, 22, hangs himself in cell using shoelace

First suicide in 13 years at county detention center

Probe finds nothing suspicious

Anne Arundel

December 31, 2003|By Julie Bykowicz | Julie Bykowicz,SUN STAFF

The death of an inmate at the Anne Arundel County Detention Center this week was the first suicide at the Jennifer Road jail in 13 years, according to jail officials.

Jeffrey Travon Middleton, 22, of the 100 block of Rosewood St. in Annapolis apparently hanged himself with a shoelace hours after being arrested on an attempted-murder warrant, Annapolis police said.

About two hours after being booked at the jail Monday evening, Middleton was pronounced dead at Anne Arundel Medical Center, said Robin R. Harting, the jail administrator.

Harting said there had been "absolutely no indication whatsoever" that Middleton might harm himself.

Inmates deemed suicidal are placed in special care and are not allowed to keep clothing items, such as shoelaces, that they could use to injure or kill themselves, she said.

Correctional officers checked on Middleton several times between the time he was placed alone in a holding cell and 7 p.m., when he was found unconscious near the cell's sink, said Anne Arundel County police, who investigated the incident.

Harting said it appears that jail officials followed proper procedures. An internal jail investigation into Middleton's death could be completed by the end of the week.

County police have closed their investigation after finding nothing suspicious, said spokesman Lt. Joseph Jordan.

The afternoon he was arrested, Middleton attempted to flee from authorities, said Officer Hal Dalton, an Annapolis police spokesman.

During an afternoon meeting with his probation officer at the Anne Arundel County District Court building in Annapolis, Middleton learned that he was wanted on the attempted-murder warrant, Dalton said.

He had been on probation for second-degree assault and was driving on a suspended license, said a spokeswoman for the state Division of Parole and Probation.

Middleton fled the court building and eluded police for about a half-hour. City police officers arrested him nearby on Cedar Park Road.

The arrest warrant stemmed from a Dec. 18 incident in a residence in the first block of Hicks Ave., city police said.

During a fight over cocaine, Middleton pointed a handgun at one of the residents and pulled the trigger, police said. The gun apparently malfunctioned, and no shots were fired, police said.

Last month, a Severna Park man hanged himself in his jail cell at the Annapolis Police Department on Taylor Avenue.

An internal investigation completed last week found that city officers were not at fault in the death of William Henry Stevens, 38, who used his long-sleeved shirt to hang himself.

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