An inmate died early Tuesday in an apparent suicide at the Russell County Jail, Sheriff Heath Taylor said during a news conference.
Randy Jean Turner, 43, of Phenix City was facing one count of third-degree domestic violence (criminal mischief) at the time of his death. The Alabama Bureau of Investigation is investigating the incident.
“We believe that Mr. Turner hung himself in the cell with a sheet,” Taylor said about the 8 a.m. incident. “We believe that the state will have that to show.”
Turner was booked into the jail after he was arrested in Phenix City around 3:30 p.m. Sunday. At the time, he was wanted in Kentucky on a probation violation warrant.
Taylor said an inmate left the cell he shared with Turner early Tuesday and returned to find the man unresponsive.
“We took the cellmate up to the front for a phone call in reference to making a bond,” the sheriff said. “When we took the inmate back is when we found Mr. Turner.”
Taylor said correctional officers performed CPR on Turner, but they weren’t able to revive him. He was taken to the Jack Hughston Memorial Hospital, where officials said he died.
It’s the first time in about seven years that an inmate has died at the Russell County Jail, authorities stated.
Taylor said Turner didn’t show any signs that he was suicidal before his death. He said it’s difficult to prevent inmates from committing suicide when they aren’t informed about it beforehand.
He said inmates who have indicated that they are suicidal are placed on suicide watch.
“We give them paper clothing,” the sheriff stated. “We have a psychiatrist that we can set them up with and they are able to speak with. If medication is needed, we go through that whole realm of issues.”