Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Inmate Hangs Self in Columbia County Jail 

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Last night, sometime before 8 pm, a Columbia County Jail inmate hung himself in the intake area of the County jail. This area of the jail is under video surveillance.

The Columbia County Sheriff's Public Information Officer Murray Smith wrote a press release this morning.

This press release was only distributed to Columbia County's mainstream good ole' boy newspaper the Lake City Reporter, until this afternoon, when the Observer asked for information regarding "the hanging in the jail."

 PIO Smith provided the following press release [as written]:

Detectives and FDLE Investigate Apparent Jail Suicide

On Wednesday night, October 25, Columbia County Sheriff Office Detectives began an investigation into the death of a CCSO inmate at the county jail.

The investigation was prompted when Detention Deputies who were conducting routine inmate checks found Harry Leary, 57 dead in his cell.  Leary was in alone in the cell waiting to be in processed when he apparently used his clothing to self-asphyxiate.

Detention Deputies began CPR and notified EMS who responded and pronounced him dead just before 8PM.

Sheriff Mark Hunter responded and directed that FDLE take part in a joint investigation. “This is a sad incident which illustrates the stresses of incarceration and the very difficult work done by the jail staff.”  Sheriff Hunter said, “Our hearts go out to the Leary family during this difficult time.”

Leary was being booked on a burglary charge and a violation of probation charge.

This investigation is active and ongoing.

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