State police probing deaths in 2 Arkansas lockups

Inmates at Brickeys prison, jail expire

Posted: May 26, 2018 at 4:30 a.m.

Authorities are investigating two inmate deaths at separate facilities in eastern Arkansas, including one that occurred early Friday.

Staff members at the East Arkansas Regional Unit in Brickeys found inmate D'angelo Merriweather, 23, unresponsive shortly after 2:50 a.m. Friday in his single-man cell, according to a news release.

Arkansas Department of Correction spokesman Solomon Graves said correctional officers and the medical staff provided treatment before Merriweather was taken to the unit's infirmary.

Merriweather was pronounced dead in the infirmary at 3:30 a.m., Graves said.

Records show the inmate had been convicted on various drug- and weapons-related charges out of Clark and Greene counties as well as a count of terroristic act. His intake date was March 11, 2014, and he had been given a parole eligibility date of March 16, 2024.

Around 1:30 p.m. Thursday, detainee Charles Garza, age unknown, was found hanging in a locked single-man cell at the unit's Lee County jail in Brickeys by staff members, according to another news release.

Garza's death is believed to have been a suicide, Graves said. After guards and medical workers were unable to detect a pulse, he was pronounced dead at 1:43 p.m.

A message left with the Lee County sheriff's office was not returned Friday.

The Arkansas State Police was immediately notified and responded in both cases. It will conduct investigations into both deaths.

The Correction Department will conduct its own investigation into Merriweather's death, and the Lee County sheriff's office is part of the state police investigation into Garza's death.

State Desk on 05/26/2018