October 4, 2004 in City

Inmate killed in county jail

Carla K. Johnson Staff writer
 

A 21-year-old Spokane County Jail inmate was killed Saturday night, apparently by a cellmate, according to a news release from the Spokane County Sheriff’s Department.

Current jail staff could not remember any previous homicides at the jail, the news release said.

A corrections officer making rounds at about 8:30 p.m. found a bloodied Christopher L. Rentz of Spokane, who was serving a six-month sentence for second-degree theft. A piece of fabric was knotted around the victim’s neck and he was bleeding from a head wound.

Three men shared Rentz’s cell on the jail’s Three West unit. All three were moved to separate cells.

One of them is considered a suspect, but a sheriff’s spokesman would not release that man’s name Sunday.

Police spokesman Cpl. Dave Reagan did say the murder suspect was in jail “on a bunch of felony charges.”

Statements by the cellmates and evidence at the scene all pointed to a killing rather than suicide.

Jail medical officers performed first aid until paramedics arrived. The victim was pronounced dead about 20 minutes after he was found.

Rumors circulated among inmates after the killing, Reagan said. A brother of Rentz’s is also an inmate at the jail, he said, “so he was notified right away.” Other relatives were notified Saturday night.

Rentz’s body was taken to the Spokane County morgue. An autopsy is scheduled for today.

There will be a murder investigation and an administrative review of jail safety, Reagan said.

“That’s to make sure policies are as efficient as they can be, as strict as they can be, to enforce inmate safety,” he said.


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