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Two Inmates Die in the Space of Six Weeks in Jail in Rock Hill


A South Carolina sheriff says he has "the utmost confidence" that his detention officers are handling prisoners properly after the death of a second inmate in custody in the space of six weeks.

Others are likely to be more skeptical after the death of murder suspect Joshua Grose in Rock Hill.

The Charlotte Observer reported York County Sheriff Bruce Bryant did not believe there was a problem in his jail.

The newspaper reported the authorities said the 34-year-old died on a day he attempted to drown himself in the toilet of his jail cell and was held for several hours in a restraint chair. Grose had been jailed after being charged with killing his mother and another woman on Friday evening. Investigators said he struck two women with a stolen car.

Notwithstanding Bryant's comments, there are some glaring unanswered questions in relation to this death.

The report in the Charlotte Observer said it was not clear if Grose's death was a suicide. Nor was it clear how he died. An autopsy was being held this week and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is investigating the death, the Observer reported. York County Coroner Sabrina Gast said that Grose died from blunt force trauma to the head.

Bryant, who is in charge of the jail, said the two inmate deaths "don't indicate a systemic problem with his jail," the Observer reported. His office is cooperating fully with outside investigators.

Grose's death came about six weeks after the death of William Joseph Blinn, 26, who was in jail awaiting trial in connection with a burglary at a Rock Hill market.

He was found unresponsive in his jail cell. He died about 10 hours later at Carolinas Medical Center, where he had been flown by helicopter. Investigators have called the death a suicide but the coroner is still awaiting toxicology tests.

According to Bryant, none of the officers involved in either death investigation have been suspended.

While reports of Grose's death suggest he was combative and banged his head on the wall of the cell, it's important that inmates receive the correct medical care and attention they need in jail.

Deaths of inmates in South Carolina's prisons are far from uncommon. Some deaths, such as that of Samuel Bass, a prisoner with no prior medical problems who was found dead at the Myrtle Beach city jail, prompted calls for investigations by watchdog groups.

The team at the Masella Law Firm P.A., has a wealth of experience in representing those who are charged with violent crimes. With a violent crime rate that's higher than the national average, South Carolina's jails hold many inmates who are awaiting trial on such charges. They have a right to be treated humanely and afforded prompt medical care and protection from themselves if they are showing suicidal tendencies. You should consider calling our South Carolina criminal defense attorneys if you have been charged with a violent crime or if a family member has died in jail.

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