Man Jailed on $5 Theft for Months Without Bail Dies

Judge ordered him transferred to mental health facility weeks before his death
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 28, 2015 7:47 PM CDT
Man Jailed on $5 Theft for Months Without Bail Dies

A man charged with stealing $5 worth of snacks from a 7-Eleven died in a Virginia jail cell last week while being held without bail, weeks after a judge ordered him transferred to a mental health facility, the Guardian reports. Jamycheal Mitchell, 24, was arrested April 22 in Portsmouth for allegedly stealing Mountain Dew, a Snickers, and a Zebra Cake. His aunt, Roxanne Adams, tells the Guardian Mitchell suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. In May, a judge ruled Mitchell, who was refusing his medication in jail, wasn't competent to stand trial and ordered him transferred to a mental health facility, an order repeated at the end of July. But the Guardian reports guards found Mitchell dead in his cell Aug. 19.

Officials say there were no signs of injury on Mitchell's body and nothing suspicious about his death. Adams believes her nephew starved after refusing his meals. "He was extremely emaciated," she tells the Guardian. Mitchell was kept at the jail because there were no vacant beds at the mental health facility, but the Guardian was unable to get a clear answer from the court, jail, or police about what agency was responsible for making sure he was transferred or why he wasn't given a chance to bail out. "He just chain-smoked and made people laugh," Adams tells the Guardian. "He never did anything serious, never harmed anybody." The only local coverage of Mitchell's death was a three-sentence item that doesn't mention his name. (More jail stories.)

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