Crime - Sacto 911

Drug intoxication cause of inmate’s death, Sacramento County district attorney finds

The inmate who was found dead in his cell two days after he was arrested last July died from drug intoxication, an independent review of the incident by the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office found.

Barry Lee Monroe, 41, of Sacramento was arrested July 22 on suspicion of possession of heroin and marijuana for sale, resisting a peace officer and destruction of evidence. As he was being arrested, Monroe tried to swallow heroin but later spit out the substance. He denied swallowing anything when speaking to authorities, the review said.

Monroe was booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail and assigned a cell. He was joined by another inmate about 3:43 p.m. the next day, who reported hearing Monroe snoring while he slept. The two did not speak to one another.

“At one point, the inmate tried to wake him up, but Monroe continued to sleep,” the review said. “ The inmate did not believe that Monroe had any distress or required any medical emergency.”

The inmate was moved to a different cell at approximately 2:46 p.m. July 24. Though cell checks were conducted throughout the day, nothing unusual was noted.

It wasn’t until Sacramento County Sheriff’s Deputy Alfonso Ceja performed an inmate count about 5:41 p.m. that he saw Monroe lying on the top bunk of his bed with his arm hanging off to the side. Monroe did not respond to Ceja’s rattling of the cell door or when he called out his name.

Additional jail staff assisted Ceja, entering Monroe’s cell to find that his body was cool and did not have a pulse. Deputies began CPR and Sacramento Fire Department personnel arrived about 5:54 p.m. to continue medical assistance. Monroe was pronounced dead three minutes later.

An autopsy by forensic pathologist Dr. Brian Nagao deemed the cause of Monroe’s death as drug intoxication. He also suffered from acute pneumonia and cardiomegaly, the review said.

“No evidence of criminal misconduct is presented or suggested in any of the supporting reports,” the report said. “The District Attorney’s Office will not take any further action in this matter.”

Nashelly Chavez: 916-321-1188, @nashellytweets

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