UPDATE: Coroner says woman who died in jail had broken ribs

lgierer@ledger-enquirer.comOctober 27, 2013 

Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan said on Sunday that Lori Carroll, 46, who died Thursday in the Muscogee County Jail, had broken ribs, a punctured lung and wounds to her face.

The body is still at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab in Atlanta where it was sent for autopsy.

Bryan said no cause of death has been given and the investigation is continuing.

Bryan said it is possible that all of Carroll's injuries could have been self inflicted.

He said jail personnel told him Carroll had been banging her head against the concrete and blood had to be cleaned up.

Carroll was being held on a disorderly conduct while intoxicated charge.

He said officers had last seen the inmate alive about 4:30 a.m. on Thursday. When they returned to her cell, Carroll was unresponsive.

Bryan said she was found on the floor at 5 a.m. and pronounced dead 40 minutes later.

Carroll was jailed Tuesday. Jail records show she was booked in at 8:55 a.m., having been arrested at 5:25 a.m. at 4014 Oates Ave. She lived on Oates Avenue and was also known by the last name Chesnut.

Maj. Randy Robertson of the Muscogee County Sheriff's Office repeated Sunday what he said Thursday and that is authorities weren’t aware of any conflicts or negative interactions Carroll may have had with other prisoners. He also said there is no record of negative contact by guards.

He said the death is being investigated by the sheriff's department. If there is any signs that an local officer may be involved then the GBI would be called in.

Robertson said that Carroll may have had some of the injuries before she came to jail.

Muscogee County Sheriff John Darr said Thursday that Carroll didn’t commit suicide. “The initial thing is we don’t think she committed suicide. We are just trying to find out what led up to her passing," Darr said.

Darr also noted that an inmate like Carroll with mental health issues shouldn’t have been housed at the county jail, but at an institution.

“We have people with extreme mental health issues being pushed into county jails. It’s not only here locally, but throughout the country. I think we have a good relationship with New Horizons. People like her really don’t need to be in the county jail," Darr said.

Robertson agreed, saying this is a "sad story."

"People with severe mental illness should not be in the county jail but it happens all across the country," Robertson said.

Court records show Carroll had a history of run-ins with the law, but only for petty offenses.

Identified in court filings as Lori Michelle Carroll, her record showed the following:

She pleaded guilty Nov. 1, 2007, to criminal trespass for entering the Chevron station at 8050 Beaver Run Road the previous Oct. 21, though she had been warned to stay away.

On July 27, 2009, she was charged with making harassing phone calls to an Asa Drive resident and making unlawful 911 calls by using abusive language and profanity.

On Aug. 19, 2010, she was charged with having less than an ounce of marijuana. She pleaded guilty and got 30 days in jail and 12 months’ probation.

On Dec. 11, 2010, she was charged with theft by taking for stealing an LG high definition TV from Walmart, 5448 Whittlesey Blvd. She pleaded guilty to shoplifting June 21, 2011, though this past summer that charge was corrected from shoplifting to misdemeanor theft by taking. Her sentence was the same: five years with 12 months to serve, with credit for time served.

On Oct. 4, 2012, she pleaded guilty to criminal trespass and battery with family violence. She was placed on probation for 24 months and ordered to complete substance abuse counseling and undergo random drug testing. This past March 8, she was given credit for time served and released on unsupervised probation.

On May 8, she was charged with terroristic threats on the allegation she threatened another woman by pulling a knife and saying, “I’ll school you.” On Aug. 27, defense attorney Kathryn Rhodes sought a psychological evaluation for Carroll. The attorney also sought to reduce Carroll’s bond, saying her client had been held on $5,000 bond since May 8.

On Aug. 30, Carroll pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct. She was sentenced to 12 months’ probation with credit for time served, and ordered stay 1,000 yards away from the woman she threatened.

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