Tuesday, 18 June 2024

Jail inmate found hanging in cell

LAKEPORT – Sheriff's officials are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of an inmate found hanging in his cell early Monday morning.

Jimmy Ray Hatfield, 38, of Clearlake, was discovered by jail staff at around 6 a.m. Monday, according to Capt. James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

Lake County Jail custody staff were conducting their formal count in one of the maximum security units when they observed that one of the cells had a blanket draped from the upper bunk, concealing Hatfield, the cell’s sole occupant, Bauman said.

Bauman reported that Hatfield had last been observed acting normally in his cell about 40 minutes prior during an hourly cell check.

The housing officer directed Hatfield to show himself for the count and when he failed to respond, the officer entered the cell and discovered him unconscious and suspended by a ligature made from a bed sheet, which Bauman said was tied to the upper bunk behind the blanket.

When Hatfield was discovered additional officers and jail medical staff immediately responded for assistance while rescue personnel from the Lakeport Fire Department were dispatched to the jail, according to Bauman.

While Lakeport Fire personnel were en route, custody staff quickly released Hatfield from the upper bunk and commenced life-saving efforts, Bauman said. Rescue personnel arrived and took over attempts to save Hatfield while transporting him to Sutter Lakeside Hospital.

However, shortly after his arrival at the emergency room, Hatfield was declared deceased, Bauman said.

Sheriff’s detectives were dispatched to the jail to process the apparent suicide scene and Bauman said that, pursuant to sheriff’s department policy, the Lake County District Attorney’s Office also was called in to conduct an independent investigation of the death.

Hatfield was booked at the jail last Saturday evening by the Clearlake Police Department following an incident in that city, Bauman said.

Hatfield – whose occupation on his booking sheet was listed as “student” – was awaiting arraignment on felony charges of threatening a peace officer, resisting arrest, battery on a peace officer, and two other related misdemeanor charges, Bauman said. Jail records show Hatfield was being held on a $50,000 bail.

The manner and cause of Hatfield’s death is pending further investigation and autopsy results, and Bauman declined to release any further details.

Bauman told Lake County News that the last time the jail had an incident similar to Hatfield's was July of 2008.

Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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