Coroner: 2 Montgomery County Jail inmates die from suicides

Two Montgomery County Jail inmates died by suicide within a week of each other this month, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.

Nathan Griffith, 26, attempted suicide on Aug. 7 and died at Miami Valley Hospital on Aug. 13 due to an anoxic brain injury from hanging, according to the coroner.

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Jimmy Miller, 43, died from hanging himself in the jail on Aug. 19, which was also ruled a suicide by the coroner.

Neither were classified as suicidal, said Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Maj. Matt Haines. Both Griffith and Miller had been there a short time, each about week, when statistics show inmates are more likely to attempt suicide, Haines said.

“Even so, they were in suicide-safe housing because they were with other inmates,” said Haines, the jail administrator.

The county’s jail has been named in 13 lawsuits in the last five years alleging mistreatment to overcrowded conditions. A consultant hired by an advisory committee examining conditions at the jail has noted the interior layout makes it difficult for officers to properly supervise the inmates. Pods designed to house 48 inmates now house 104, according to the consultants from CGL Companies.

According to court records, Griffith returned to jail this month for violating the terms of his probation over a 2016 robbery of a woman outside the Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway.

Court records show Miller, with a Boonesville, Ky. address, was indicted for breaking and entering, and warrants were issued for his arrest on Aug. 8 and Aug. 15.

Haines said Griffith was being housed in a cell with a half-dozen other inmates on the morning of Aug. 7. One of the inmates left for a court date and at about 10:45 a.m. as the others slept, Griffith hanged himself with a blanket, Haines said.

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Miller was housed with another inmate on Sunday when both left their cell during a recreation period, Haines said. Miller went back to the cell to ostensibly use the restroom and didn’t return after a time, prompting a check by a guard who found him hanging in the cell at about 2:20 p.m., Haines said.

Jail officers and medical staff administered lifesaving measures on both inmates, giving CPR until Dayton medics arrived, Haines said. Griffith died from his injury about a week after the suicide attempt. Miller was pronounced dead at the jail, Haines said.

At least 800 inmates over the past two years have been deemed at risk for suicide, Haines said. In those cases, inmates are placed in safety gowns so it’s harder to hurt themselves and put in isolation cells with 10-minute checks, he said.

Funeral services for Miller were Thursday afternoon in Boonesville, according his obituary.

Recent suicides at the jail include those of William Devoe, 37, in February, and in May last year, Stephen J. Roudebush, 31, died at Miami Valley Hospital after found hanging in his cell.

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