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Macedonia Police: Inmate found dead of apparent suicide in city jail

by Eric Marotta | Editor Published: August 24, 2016 12:00 AM
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Macedonia -- The death of a 24-year-old Texas man in the Macedonia City Jail is likely the facility's first suicide, according to Police Lt. Vince Yakopovich.

The man was found not breathing on his cot a little before 4 p.m. Aug. 9 by another inmate, according to a report.

The report states Corrections Officer Leah Coffman was alerted by an inmate who had looked into the cell while the inmate had been using the dayroom.

Coffman contacted dispatch for a rescue squad, then went with Det. Brian Vince to the cell and found a sheet had been tied to a window bar and the man's neck, the report states.

Vince cut the sheet and performed CPR until firefighers arrived, but the man was not responsive and not breathing, according to the report.

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Firefighters took him to the Cleveland Clinic Twinsburg emergency room, where a doctor pronounced him dead around 4:30 p.m., the report states.

While police believe the death is a suicide, Yakopovich said the investigation remains open, pending a ruling from the Summit County Medical Examiner's Office.

Gary Gunther, chief investigator for the medical examiner's office, said Aug. 22 a ruling on the cause and manner of the man's death remains pending.

The man had been pulled over for speeding on Interstate 271 northbound near the northern city line around 2:20 a.m. Aug. 7.

According to the report, he told police he did not have a driver's license and he was placed under arrest. On searching his vehicle, police found 25 vacuum sealed packages of marijuana weighing 24 pounds concealed in compartments. Yakopovich said the marijuana was worth at least $25,000.

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He was charged with aggravated trafficking in drugs, a first-degree felony, and felony charges of hidden compartments and drug possession, as well as misdemeanor charges of speeding and driving without a license.

Yakopovich said Aug. 19 that police are required to check inmates at least once per hour. He said the man had given no indication he may be a suicide risk.

"There was no indication for him to be on suicide watch ... The bottom line is he was a driver for a larger drug organization and he was out $25,000," he said. "The fire department tried to save him and they ended up transporting him, but he was pronounced dead at the hospital."

Yakopovich said the department has about "one or two" suicide attempts in the jail each year, but none have been successful in the present facility, which was opened in 1997.

Yakopovich said he knows of one suicide in the former jail facility, which took place before he joined the department 22 years ago.

Eric Marotta: 330-541-9433

emarotta@recordpub.com

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