Crime - Sacto 911

Sacramento County jail Inmate dies before he was scheduled to appear in court

A 29-year-old inmate died Wednesday afternoon following what authorities are describing as a medical emergency, the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, which oversees the jail, announced late Thursday.

Kenton Ballard was sent to the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department's sister jail, the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center, on Feb. 7 after he was allegedly found with narcotic paraphernalia and in violation of his probation. He was moved to the Sacramento County Main Jail in the early hours of Feb. 28 for a court appearance scheduled for later that day, the Sheriff's Department said.

Ballard was staying in a temporary holding area awaiting the court hearing when he alerted a sheriff's deputy about severe abdominal pain.

“I can’t speak to it directly but he had severe abdominal pain and we immediately took him to the hospital," said Sgt. Shaun Hampton, a department spokesman. "“It was alarming to the deputy because if someone has a stomachache, he’s not going to be doubled over.”

Ballard was taken to a nearby hospital at 7:21 a.m., just less than 30 minutes after Ballard made the initial complaint. He was released from jail custody at 12:04 p.m. and died about 90 minutes later, Hampton said.

The Sheriff's Department may choose to release an inmate from jail, after consulting with the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office, if they suspect the inmate will need long-term medical care, according to Hampton.

Ballard worked in a kitchen as part of an in-custody program, Hampton said. A Facebook page for a man with the same name indicates Ballard attended Luther Burbank High School and lived in Sacramento, though no residence city was listed on the Sacramento County Coroner's Office website.

When asked if Ballard had complained of previous pain or medical issues while at the jail, Hampton said he was not informed of "anything that would stand out.”

The Sacramento County District Attorney's Office reviews incidents of in-custody deaths in the county. Hampton said the agency also forwards internal investigation findings of in-custody deaths to the California Department of Justice.

If you have information about any of these people, call (800) 222-7463 or (916) 443-4357, or report online at

Benjy Egel: (916) 321-1052,