Sheriff’s office: Teen inmate held in Oklahoma jail dies
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A teenager who was being held at an Oklahoma jail on a rape charge and who was found unresponsive last week after an apparent suicide attempt has died.
The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office said John Leroy Daniel Applegate died Wednesday at a hospital after he was found unconscious April 23.
A news release dated Thursday says the 16-year-old had been jailed since Feb. 2 after being arrested by police in Choctaw, about 15 miles (24 kilometers) east of Oklahoma City. He faced charges including rape and assault with a deadly weapon. The release says Applegate was being held alone.
Court documents don’t list an attorney for Applegate. He had been scheduled for a hearing Friday. A court filing Friday said the case is now closed.
Sheriff’s spokesman Mark Myers said Friday that the investigation into Applegate’s death is ongoing and could take about a month to complete. It will include looking at medical records.
Oklahoma law allows juveniles to be housed in adult jails if they are kept separate from older inmates. The jail must be approved by the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
Department of Health spokesman Tony Sellars that all jail deaths must be reported to his department.
Criminal charges involving juveniles generally are kept secret, but Oklahoma law permits judges to consider some juveniles as youthful offender cases, which allows the state to levy harsher penalties for serious offenses. Court filings in the case against Applegate’s were made public.
Applegate’s death is the second apparent suicide at the jail this year. U.S. Army veteran Krysten Gonzalez died in January . A judge ruled in February the jail can no longer house detainees awaiting mental health treatment.
It’s unclear if Applegate was awaiting a mental health evaluation.
Choctaw Police Chief Kelly Marshall said Friday that her officers were called to a home to investigate a report of a sexual assault and determined there was probable cause.
Marshall said when officers told Applegate he was going to be arrested, he pulled a BB gun that looked like a real firearm from a drawer. Officers used a stun gun to subdue him, and he was taken into custody.
The Oklahoma County Jail, located in Oklahoma City, has been under increased scrutiny. In April , a panel of government officials and community leaders voted to hire a private contractor to run the facility rather than the sheriff. The jail has experienced a high number of inmate deaths in recent years. The facility also dealt with severe mold that effectively made the jail’s kitchen unusable.