A recent suicide at the Lycoming County Prison brings the total deaths in the prison to three in 2022. Since 2012, eight inmates have died in the county jail, according to the Lycoming County coroner.
Of the eight inmate deaths, four were natural, two were suicides, one was accidental and one, which occurred on Sept. 5, 2022, still is pending, according to Coroner Charles Kiessling Jr.
All inmate deaths are investigated internally at the prison and by the county District Attorney’s Office, according to Prison Warden Brad Shoemaker.
“The investigations have not revealed any trend or common thread among the inmate deaths at the Lycoming County Prison,” Shoemaker said.
The most recent inmate death was 32-year-old Wayne A Hunter, III, who was pronounced dead after being taken to the emergency room, county Chief Clerk Matt McDermott said in a press release after the incident.
Joel Kendall, 49, of Williamsport, was found dead in his cell on Sept. 5. The investigation into his death is still pending, according to Kiessling, who is waiting for toxicology results before determining the manner of death.
On Jan. 15, 2022, Chaz Turner, 33, collapsed in the prison and was taken to the hospital where efforts to revive him were unsuccessful. According to Kiessling, the manner of death was natural, due to COVID-19, diabetic ketoacidosis complicating diabetes mellitus and obesity.
In 2021, Donald Aaron Donato Sr., 45, died of a ruptured ascending aortic aneurysm, according to Kiessling. Donato’s family claimed that the prison staff failed to take him to his scheduled doctor’s appointment before his death.
Ruled an accident by the coroner and the county’s investigation, Ashley Cupp died on Feb. 22, 2019, due to complication from long history of drug use which contributed to a cardiovascular disease, Kiessling said.
Cupp’s mother filed a lawsuit against the prison in September 2020, alleging that Cupp’s death was a result of medical negligence from the prison staff. The lawsuit is still ongoing.
When deaths occur in the prison, Shoemaker said counseling and grief support are made available.
“Neither prison staff nor inmates are immune to the feelings of grief from loss,” Shoemaker said. “When an inmate death occurs, mental health professionals are brought in to meet with staff and inmates … Prison counselors will follow up with inmates to discuss issues and make any appropriate referrals for additional assistance.”
In 2019, 1,200 inmate deaths were reported in local jails in the United States, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, a 5% increase from 2018 and an 11% increase from 2000. In Pennsylvania, 27 inmate deaths were reported in 2019.
In state and federal prisons, 4,234 people died in 2019, a 6.6% decrease from 2011.
Nationally, suicide is the leading single cause of deaths of deaths among inmates.
Self inflicted Hanging
Diabetic Ketoacidosis Complicating Diabetes Mellitus, Obesity
Self inflicted Hanging
Hypertensive and Valvular
|1/13/2018||Sudden Cardiac Death,|
Coronary Artery Disease,