OPSO inmate found dead in jail cell - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

OPSO inmate found dead in jail cell

Updated:
New Orleans, La. -

The Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office says an inmate indicted on a second degree murder charge was found dead Thursday morning while in the custody of Orleans deputies.

Inmate Ricky Russell was arrested last June and indicted on a second degree murder charge in the case of an elderly female from Gentilly.

FOX 8 received this news release from OPSO Thursday afternoon:

At approximately 5:23 a.m. this morning, Inmate Ricky Russell, a Caucasian male born April 13, 1986, was found by Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office deputies to be unresponsive. Sheriff's Office Medical Staff and Orleans Parish EMS pronounced inmate Russell dead, after attempting to revive him. 

Inmate Russell was arrested June 13, 2012, and ultimately indicted on a charge of second degree murder in the case of an elderly female from Gentilly, who was strangled and bludgeoned to death. He was also charged with violation of parole.

"Inmate Russell did not respond for breakfast this morning. Deputies attempted to awaken Russell, who was non-responsive, and immediately contacted OPSO Medical Staff. New Orleans EMS responded immediately and worked with the Sheriff's Office Medical Staff to revive the inmate. Those efforts were unsuccessful. There were no signs of trauma at the scene," said Dr. Samuel Gore, OPSO medical director.

The case is under investigation, but a preliminary autopsy has ruled out murder as a cause. The patient was housed alone and there were no signs of violence. Accident, self-injury and medication reaction are being considered, pending final autopsy results.

Inmate Russell was housed in the Conchetta inmate housing facility in a cell by himself. He had been in custody since June 2012 and had received regular medical exams, which included evaluations for any suicidal tendencies. He denied being suicidal, therefore he was not on suicide watch, which calls for a deputy to monitor him on direct observation. He was housed in protective custody and monitored accordingly. Russell was last seen in clinic on Friday, Feb. 1. During that examination, he had no physical complaints, and denied suicidal ideation.

The OPSO has notified the New Orleans Police Department about this incident. A full autopsy, including toxicology testing, is pending with the Orleans Parish Coroner's Office.

This is the first death inside an OPSO facility since August 2011.

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