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FCSO: Inmate found dead at jail, suicide suspected

The GBI is investigating a second apparent suicide at the Floyd County Jail.

Theodore JePaul Barnett, 52, of 51 Mill St., Cave Spring, was found unresponsive in his cell Wed­nesday. He was taken to Floyd Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Sheriff Tim Burkhalter called in the GBI to conduct “a thorough inquiry into the matter,” according to FCSO spokeswoman Deputy Carrie Edge.

“Based on jail reports it appears to be a suicide; however, the GBI and coroner will make the final conclusion as to cause of death,” Edge said in a statement announcing Barnett’s death.

Another inmate, Robert Lee Maner, 43, was found hanging in his cell on Feb. 23. The GBI also is investigating his death as a suspected suicide.

Barnett was arrested April 21 following a 20-mile chase that started with the report of a burglary in progress on Pleasant Valley Road.

He was stopped on Rockmart Highway because his blue 2004 Dodge Ram matched the description of the vehicle at the burglary, but sped off when the officer noticed a TV in the back seat.

Before being captured, he tried to run over another officer with his truck and fled on foot to a house on Looney Road where he tried to force the resident to give him her car keys, according to the police report.

An officer said Barnett later confessed to driving under the influence of alcohol, meth and crack cocaine. On the way to the jail, he kicked out a window of the patrol car.

In addition to Barnett and Maner, two other Floyd County Jail inmates have died this year.

Tommy Lamar Winston, 45, of 3930 Morton Bend Road, died April 4 at FMC, three days after he had been transferred there.

Edge said Winston was being treated in the cardiac care unit. Assistant County Coroner Gene Proctor said he died of “classic congestive heart failure,” and no GBI investigation was requested.

Ashley Louise Mc­Ear­chern, 30, of 1034 Lovell Road, was found dead in her cell Jan. 28. Proctor said he didn’t see anything suspicious in her death, but the GBI was asked to investigate.

Another two jail inmates died in the past nine months.

Stephen Rudolph Nalley was found beaten to death in his jail cell Aug. 26, 2015. A fellow inmate, Denver F. Allen, 30, of 15 Webb Drive in Cartersville, is charged with his murder.

Inmate Kristi Michelle Parmer, 47, died at FMC on July 31, 2015, of natural causes, a day after she was taken there from the jail.

 
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