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Friday, August 23, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Inmate death is third in six weeks at Spokane County Jail

Authorities identified the third inmate to die in the Spokane County Jail in the past six weeks as 53-year-old Scott M. Stevens, who was arrested on suspicion of stealing a handbag from a Spokane Valley Mall department store.

Stevens died alone in a jail cell Friday night, according to a news release from the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office. A corrections officer conducting a cell check found Stevens not breathing and immediately began life-saving efforts that were unsuccessful, according to the news release.

Stevens is the third person to die at the Spokane County Jail since May 4. Lorenzo Hayes, 37, died May 13 of an apparent cardiac arrest while wrestling with Spokane Police officers in the booking area of the Spokane County Jail, according to authorities. On May 4, 46-year-old John Everitt was found dead in his cell of an apparent suicide after an arrest on a 2-year-old theft warrant.

Spokane County Jail Director John McGrath said only one inmate died in the jail in 2014. Another died in January of this year.

McGrath directed questions about the investigation to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday afternoon. He said the jail evaluates its policies every time there’s an in-custody death.

“We do automatically review our procedures to make sure everybody’s safe,” McGrath said.

Stevens was arrested around 7 p.m. June 10 after an employee of the Macy’s at the Spokane Valley Mall reported he attempted to steal a handbag valued at $128, according to court records. Authorities later found a folding knife in Stevens’ possession and recommended charges of first-degree armed burglary.

Stevens never appeared before a judge on the charge. His first court appearance was delayed twice, once on Thursday and again on Friday – hours before his death. He was scheduled to appear in court Monday for a bail hearing, according to court records.

Stevens’ criminal history shows one felony conviction for possession of a controlled substance. He did not list an address on court paperwork, saying he was staying “from place to place.”

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