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Texas Rangers investigate inmate death

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ATHENS (KYTX) - The Texas Rangers are investigating an inmate death in Henderson County.

He was found hanging in his cell Sunday.

Sheriff Ray Nutt says James Dotson was not under suicide watch when he was found in his cell Sunday.

He was in a separation cell because of his injuries, a gunshot wound from July, all stemming from why he was arrested in the first place.

"He had to spend his last days in a jail cell, isolated, away from who loved him," says Kathy Clark, Dotson's niece.

She says her uncle died because of negligent care he received, and false charges that drove him to take his own life.

But Henderson County Sheriff Ray Nutt says he was medically cleared to be in jail.

"The wound was still giving him trouble, we had the nurse check him and everything, placed him in the jail, doctor seen him on Friday," says Sheriff Nutt.

But Dotson told his niece a different story.

"He was begging them to take him to get treatment," says Clark.

Dotson attempted to hang himself inside the Henderson County Jail.

"Our detention officer found him hanging from a light fixture. Cut him down and immediately started CPR," says Sheriff Nutt.

Sheriff Nutt says he was taken to the hospital, where he later died.

It all stems from a shooting in July that put Dotson in the hospital, charged with 6 felonies.

"They indicted him on charges when he was on life support," says Clark.

She says her uncle wasn't able to tell his side in a situation she says involved his girlfriend and an argument with her brother.

"Dotson left and came back again and the guy shot him with a shotgun," says Sheriff Nutt.

"He didn't want to die in jail and he knew it was the only way," says Clark.

Clark contends Dotson felt he couldn't fight against the charges, given he was a convicted felon, and that coupled with the pain from his wound to the stomach ultimately lead to his death.

"I think Henderson County owes us an apology and I will fight tooth and nail to make that happen," says Clark.

Sheriff Nutt says inmates are supposed to be checked every 30 minutes and his jail is on a 20 minute schedule.

He says the Texas Rangers have concluded their onsite investigation into Dotson's death.

Nothing has been released yet.

Dotson's body was sent to Dallas to Southwest Forensics Institute.

No findings have been released confirming his official cause of death.

No word yet on when the Texas Rangers investigation results will be released.

 

 

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