By Ben Wright
MUSCOGEE COUNTY, Ga. — A bloody fight inside the Muscogee County Jail has left one inmate dead and another cellmate charged with murder in connection with the death, Muscogee County Sheriff John Darr said Saturday.
Inmate Issac Kindred, 57, is the third person to die in custody at the lockup in the last two weeks. He was pronounced dead at 12:25 a.m. in his fourth floor cell. His body will be sent to the crime lab in Atlanta Sunday or Monday for an autopsy.
Muscogee County Coroner Bryan said the inmate had cuts on his face and head. "There was a lot of blood on his head," the coroner said.
During a 2 p.m. news conference at the jail, Darr said Jeffrey McKinney has been charged with murder in Kindred's death. He will face the charge in Municipal Court on Wednesday for a preliminary hearing. He was jailed on Oct. 25 on charges of aggravated assault, burglary, cruelty to children third degree, peeping tom and stalking.
"This is an open and ongoing homicide investigation," the sheriff said.
Darr wouldn't answer specific questions on the death, but said the staff discovered Kindred who was injured and non responsive. Deputies and other jail personnel rendered first aid and CPR before notifying the jail medical staff. Bryan said he was notified at 12:04 a.m. and arrived at the facility at 12:24 a.m.
Since May 17, Kindred had been in the jail where he was charged with burglary second degree.
The death comes after the Oct. 29 death of Maurice Grier, 21, of Columbus and the Oct. 24 death of Lori Carroll, 46.
A relative said Grier had a fight with another inmate a week before he was stricken by an a brain aneurysm at Midtown Medical Center, formerly The Medical Center.
Carroll had broken ribs, a punctured lung and wounds to her face. No cause has been given in her death, which remains under investigation.
"Having three inmate deaths within the last two weeks has been tough on me, the entire staff and the extended family of the Muscogee County Sheriff's Office," Darr said.
The sheriff noted that the jail is well below the national average when it comes to inmate deaths. The state averages about 50 such deaths a year with many attributed to homicide, suicide and natural causes. Capacity of the jail is 1,069 inmates but it only had 1,058 at the time of the latest death.
"If you had told me this would happen three times in this year, I would not have thought that," Darr said.
When the investigations are complete, Darr said the information will be shared with other independent law enforcement agencies and with the U.S. Justice Department for evaluation and advice.
Darr said the investigation in the death of Grier is almost complete and disputed any claims the inmate had been in a fight with another inmate. "We had not had any report that he had been in any fight," the sheriff said. Grier had banged on the window and told staff his head hurt when he fell ill. Darr said there was no communication from Grier that he had been in any altercation with an inmate. "I feel sorry for the family. I feel sorry for the mother," Darr said. "We took him immediately to the clinic. He was then transported to The Medical Center. He was alive when he left this facility. He was in some kind of medical distress though, but he was alive."
Throughout the investigations, the sheriff said there has been no indication of any action or inaction by his staff in the performance of their duties. "We have been very responsible every time," Darr said.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Copyright 2013 the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer