Louisville Metro Department of Corrections Director Jerry Collins said Friday he expects criminal charges to be filed in relation to the latest death of a Louisville jail inmate, which occurred a week ago on July 8.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday afternoon, Collins identified the deceased inmate as 44-year-old Norman Sheckles, who was in jail on a wide range of charges, including assault in the first degree and convicted felon in possession of a handgun. Sheckles was the ninth LMDC inmate to die since late November, but the first inmate to die since Collins took over as the jail’s director in April.
Collins said investigators were still awaiting a toxicology report on Sheckles, but “through evidence recovered, we are pretty sure” fentanyl was involved in his death.
Collins added that one or more inmates could be charged in Sheckles’ death, but declined to name what charges they would face.
“This is an active investigation, but I do want to let you know that we do have a suspect. We have a very good idea of how this happened. And I fully anticipate when this investigation is complete, that there will be charges on one or more individuals,” said Collins.
After officers were made aware that Sheckles was experiencing a medical emergency, Collins said, they discovered three other inmates in the area who were “in medical distress.” He said those inmates were transported to the hospital and he believes their lives were saved as a result of intervention.
The jail director said that since April 1 new body scanners have detected people trying to smuggle in drugs to the facility in 45 instances. He said that somebody tried to smuggle in Suboxone strips this week through “fake legal mail” that was intercepted. As a result of the attempt to smuggle drugs through the mail, Collins said, the inmate the mail was addressed to was charged, as was the person outside the jail who sent it.
“If you have disregard for human life and you’re trying to introduce this poison into this facility, we’re going to pursue charges on you, and we’re going to pursue charges on you and we’re going to do it vigorously,” said Collins.
Collins was reluctant to highlight the charges Sheckles was in jail for when asked during the press conference.
“The charges mean nothing. A loss of a human life is tragic every time, it does not matter. It’s our job to protect folks,” he said.
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