Irvo Otieno's Death Ruled a Homicide

Virginia medical examiner cites asphyxia in case of Irvo Otieno
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 3, 2023 6:25 PM CDT
Irvo Otieno's Death Ruled a Homicide
Irvo Otieno in an undated photo.   (Courtesy of Ben Crump Law via AP, File)

The death of Irvo Otieno, who prosecutors say was smothered at a hospital, was a homicide, Virginia's chief medical examiner said Monday. The cause was found to be "positional and mechanical asphyxia with restraints," a statement by the office said, NBC News reports. Otieno, 28, died March 6 at Central State Hospital; 10 deputies and hospital employees face second-degree murder charges in the case. Video shows Otieno, a Black man, being held down until he stopped moving. The medical examiner's finding "is not surprising to us as it corroborates what the world witnessed in the video," said Ben Crump and Mark Krudys, lawyers for Otieno's family, in a statement.

Otieno was dealing with a mental health crisis when he died, his family and their lawyers said. "The disgrace was not Irvo had a mental illness. The disgrace is how [police] treat it, and you do it all over the country," said the Rev. Al Sharpton during Otieno's funeral last week. "The question is why is law enforcement not equipped to handle the mentally challenged?" The defendants won't appear in court for a month or so, per ABC News. (More Irvo Otieno stories.)

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