Officials investigate 2 inmate deaths in Mississippi jails

Published 9:39 am Monday, March 18, 2019

COLUMBUS (AP) — Mississippi state police are investigating the deaths of two inmates in separate jails.

News outlets reported 26-year-old Jefferson Russell Finch died early Friday at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Columbus.

Lowndes County officers found Finch unresponsive in his cell around 5 p.m. Thursday. Coroner Greg Merchant said it appears Finch tried to hang himself. He had been convicted on a methamphetamine charge and was awaiting transfer to state prison.

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The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is reviewing the death.

The agency is also looking at the death of 54-year-old Dale Jerome O’Neal in his cell at the Clay County jail in West Point around 8 a.m. Friday.

O’Neal’s cause of death is pending autopsy results. West Point police arrested him March 8 on charges of trespassing and failure to appear in court.