Sheriff's Department Investigating Inmate Death

Dec 10, 2018

The Hamilton County Sheriff's Department is investigating the death of an inmate at the justice center.

Deputies broke up a fight around five o'clock Sunday evening and transported both inmates to the medical unit. Cornelius Howell, 33, was treated for a cut lip and placed in a restraint chair at a nurse's direction.

The department says no force was used and Howell was non-combative. He was found unresponsive around 9:40 p.m.

The coroner's office is conducting an autopsy to determine cause of death.

It's unclear how long he may have been in the restraint chair. A department spokesman says protocols are in place to check on a restrained inmate regularly.

"There was no immediate sign of trauma or injury to Mr. Howell," the department says in a statement. "Mr. Howell did have significant medical history prior to incarceration."

According to the release, Howell entered the justice center Dec. 2 for a pair of misdemeanors.