Authorities find no crimes committed in jail inmate’s death

Authorities have concluded that no crimes were committed by Jackson County Jail workers after an investigation into the death of an inmate, Joshua McLemore, last year.

Prosecutor Jeffrey Chalfant released the report yesterday, with an autopsy concluding that the manner of McLemore’s August 2021 death was found to be natural, but the causes included multiple organ failure, a refusal to eat or drink and unrelated schizophrenia.

Indiana State Police concluded and the prosecutor agreed that there was no evidence of a single staff member committing a knowing, intentional or reckless act, thus no one committed a crime. However, “McLemore most likely died due to a prolonged lack of attention by Jackson Jail staff as a group.”

The report concluded that after an incident at Schneck Medical Center at about 2:30 a.m. in the morning on July 20th, McLemore was arrested on charges including battery against a public safety official and criminal mischief. However, because of his mental state, McLemore was not fingerprinted, photographed or asked medical questions when he was booked into the jail. Instead, he was taken directly to a padded cell. While an initial hearing is normally held after an arrest, no hearing was ever held during nearly three weeks he spent in the cell.

On July 29th, McLemore’s attorney filed a motion to determine his competency and sought an evaluation for insanity. Just over a week later, he was taken to Schneck Medical Center again, then to Mercy West Hospital in Cincinnati, where he died on August 10th.

In the days leading up to his death, McLemore was only rarely sleeping, eating, drinking and not using the bathroom. The cell was frequently covered with human and food waste, trash and liquids, according to video records reviewed by state police. McLemore was frequently in a distressed state, striking himself, making suicidal comments and not speaking clearly.