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Suicide has been confirmed as cause of death of inmate in the Benton County Jail, reports show

by Tracy Neal | May 22, 2023 at 1:00 a.m.
Deputy Chance Gregory looks in on prisoners May 2, 2017 at the Benton County Jail in Bentonville. (File Photo/NWA Democrat-Gazette/J.T. Wampler )

BENTONVILLE -- A man who hung himself in his cell in the Benton County Jail, after threatening to kill himself just days earlier, wasn't on suicide watch at the time of his death, according to Lt. Shannon Jenkins and jail records.

Timothy Plank, 53, of Rogers died Feb. 3, according to court documents.

Plank's death certificate lists his manner of death as suicide as a result of ligature hanging. The certificate states Plank hung himself with ligatures made from bandages.

The Benton County Sheriff's Office released a statement in February saying Plank was found unresponsive in his cell and pronounced dead at a local hospital.

He was alone in the cell, according to jail documents.

Plank had been in the jail on charges of aggravated robbery, aggravated assault, aggravated assault on correctional facility employee, possession of a controlled substance and obtaining drugs by fraud.

He was being held on a $750,000 bond.

Rogers police received a report at 4:25 p.m. Jan. 30 concerning an armed robbery at Walgreens at 1722 W. Walnut St., according to a probable cause affidavit.

Plank reportedly approached the pharmacy, brandished a black pistol and demanded oxycodone to commit suicide. He waved the pistol around in the pharmacy at the three employees as he demanded the medication, according to the affidavit.

He was given a small bottle that contained five 10 mg oxycodone pills. He immediately took the pills and left the store, according to the affidavit.

Police later found Plank in his pickup in the parking lot of the Rogers District Court, which is next to the Police Department.

An officer ordered Plank to put his hands out the window, but Plank got out of the vehicle with a black pistol in his right hand and pointed the gun at an officer, the affidavit states.

Plank was ordered to put the gun down, but he told the officers they were going to have to shoot him, according to the affidavit.

Plank extended the pistol in front of him and pointed it slightly toward the ground. Police believe Plank attempted to fire the gun, but the pistol malfunctioned, according to the affidavit.

Plank retrieved a second pistol from his pickup, and a police officer grabbed him, but Plank was able to fire one shot before the officer got him under control, according to the affidavit.

Police took him into custody, and Plank yelled, "Shoot me. I want to die," according to the affidavit.

He was taken to the hospital where he told the police his initial plan was to rob Walgreens for the medication, take the medication, then rob the Arvest Bank across the street and wait for police to arrive so they would kill him, according to the affidavit. Plank said he changed his mind and decided to go to the Rogers Police Department, so officers would kill him there, according to the affidavit.

Plank said he was diabetic, had been in great pain and had attempted to kill himself within the previous few weeks, according to the affidavit.

Plank said if he were released from the hospital, he would hang himself, according to the affidavit.

Jenkins, a spokeswoman for the Benton County Sheriff's Office, said detainees on suicide watch are checked every 15 minutes, but Plank had been removed from suicide watch.

Plank denied thoughts of self harm during a Feb. 2 screening at the jail but said he previously wanted to be killed by a police officer, according to the affidavit.

He was questioned at the screening about the severity of his suicide threats, according to jail documents. He was asked to rate the most suicidal ideation in his life and since the arrest, and Plank answered both as a 5 of 5, being the most severe, according to the jail records.

He scored 25 on the Feb. 2 screening, which is based on a scale of eight to 40, according to jail documents. Scores of 24 or higher should remain on suicide watch and scores under 24 still require the clinical judgment of the psychiatrist, mental health professional or provider, according to jail documents.

The jail's mental health therapist released Plank from suicide watch, Jenkins said.

The ligature Plank made was put together with medical bandages and medical adhesive wrap, which were provided to him for his feet which had open sores due to complications from diabetes, according to jail documents.

  photo  Timothy Plank

Print Headline: Death Benton County Jail inmate was suicide, records show


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