JACKSONVILLE, Florida. – A 31-year-old Duval County jail inmate, who was behind bars for armed robbery, died in custody after being involved in a fight with another inmate, according to a report from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office .

According to JSO, Coty Riley was located in his cell on March 4 and taken to hospital for treatment of his injuries. He died later on March 19.

The 18-page investigative reports include interviews with multiple witnesses who told police the scuffle was sparked by an argument over a lunch bag, with some witnesses saying Riley was sold the lunch bag for $2, which he ate, but “couldn’t pay for for another week.

A witness told police, according to the report, that a verbal argument between the two men turned physical when the other inmate “rushed” Riley in his cell. He said the other inmate may have “punched Riley’s chest”, and added that Riley then “swung” and punched the inmate and put him in a headlock.

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When he let go of the other inmate, according to the report, that inmate began punching Riley. The witness said that Riley had then “fallen”.

Several inmates told investigators that Riley was the assailant and threw the first punch, according to the report.

Another witness told police that after the fight was over, Riley said he was not feeling well and was taken away by medical personnel. The report states that after he arrived at the hospital, doctors discovered a brain hemorrhage and performed emergency surgery. He remained in critical condition before his death.

The medical examiner’s office ruled the death a homicide as a result of the blunt head trauma. The Fourth Circuit State’s Attorney’s Office deemed it justifiable, stating that Riley was the assailant. Due to the ruling, News4JAX chose not to name the other inmate.

News4JAX visited the man’s home, where he said he wanted to speak to his lawyer first before discussing what happened. Records show the reason the man was in jail was for not appearing in court.

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In the state’s attorney’s office ruling statement, it notes that the lead detective obtained relevant portions of the surveillance video and conducted extensive interviews with witnesses, who “describe the deceased victim as the first aggressor. The statement notes that eyewitnesses described “the suspect as returning non-lethal force to the deceased victim’s non-lethal force.” He further clarifies that “all the witnesses expressed their great surprise that the deceased victim died of the injuries sustained” during the fight.

Additionally, the state’s attorney’s office writes, “The suspect’s use of non-lethal force was in response to and sympathetic to the non-lethal force the deceased victim initiated when he called the suspect into the prison cell, hit him and then held him down. in a headache. Thus, the suspect’s use of non-deadly force was justified by the deceased victim’s initial use of non-deadly force. Criminal charges against this suspect cannot be pursued because the force he used was legally justified.

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Notably, there are two other homicides that have been reported to the Duval County Jail, which are still under investigation. They include David Ramirez in 2019 and Daniel Taylor in 2021.

Investigators say Ramirez was beaten to death and his cellmate, Paul Dixon, was charged with murder and later charged. Dixon awaits trial in September.

Investigators said Taylor was overpowered by a prison officer. His family sent us his death certificate, which listed the manner of death as homicide.

Copyright 2022 by WJXT News4JAX – All Rights Reserved.


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