According to the Arkansas Department of Correction, two inmates at the East Arkansas Unit at Brickeys have been found dead, marking the eighth and ninth inmate deaths in the prison system this year and the second time in a week that two deaths occurred in the system.
ADC officials said in a news release issued Friday that at approximately 2:53 a.m. Friday, staff at the East Arkansas Regional Unit in Brickeys found inmate D’angelo Merriweather unresponsive in the single-man cell he was assigned to.
"Responding correctional officers and medical staff provided onsite emergency medical treatment," according to the news release. "Merriweather was taken to the Unit’s infirmary where he was pronounced dead at 3:30 a.m. The Arkansas State Police was immediately notified and responded to the Unit. ASP will be conducting an investigation into the death. The Department of Correction will be conducting an internal investigation into the death."
Information about Merriweather's sentence and age were not immediately provided by the ADC. The ADC did not say how Merriweather died.
On Thursday at approximately 1:31 p.m., staff at the East Arkansas Regional Unit’s Lee County Jail Facility in Brickeys "observed detainee Charles Garza hanging in a locked single-man cell," the news release said.
"Responding correctional officers and medical staff were unable to detect a pulse. Garza was pronounced dead at 1:43 p.m. The Arkansas State Police (ASP) was immediately notified and responded to the jail. ASP will be conducting an investigation into the death, in conjunction with the Lee County Sheriff’s Department."
Information about why Garza was incarcerated was not immediately provided by the ADC. His age was also not available.
The ADC reported May 20 that two inmates at separate ADC facilities died in their single-man cells, marking the sixth and seventh deaths in the prison system this year.
On May 20, Joshua Autry, an inmate at the East Arkansas Regional Unit at Brickeys, and Kevin Shelton, an inmate at the Varner Unit in Grady, were both found unresponsive by guards in their single-man cells.
In Autry’s case, according to an ADC news release, Brickeys Unit medical staff found no signs of life, and Autry was transported to the unit infirmary. Autry was pronounced dead at 4:22 a.m. May 20, according to ADC officials.
Autry was a 33-year-old white male serving a life sentence for murder in the 1st degree out of Drew County, according to the ADC.
At Varner, Shelton was found unresponsive by unit staff in his single-man cell, and staff provided emergency medical treatment before transporting him to the unit infirmary, according to ADC officials.
Shelton was pronounced dead at 4:02 p.m. on May 20. The ADC said Shelton was a 30-year-old black male serving a 20-year sentence for negligent homicide out of Pulaski County.
The ADC has not said how Autry or Shelton died.