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New Details Into Inmates Death - Man Charged With Manslaughter

Last updated on Saturday, January 12, 2013

(TERRE HAUTE) - A Terre Haute man appeared in court Thursday morning to face charges related to the death of a Vigo County Jail inmate.

Joe Astrouski, of WTHI reports, James Ross, 39, is charged with Involuntary Manslaughter and Battery Resulting in Bodily Injury, both C Felonies, in connection with the death of William Powell.

Police had arrested Powell on a warrant out of Terre Haute City Court around 10:55 p.m. on January 6 th. According to officers, Powell was "highly intoxicated" at the time of his arrest and was unable to communicate clearly. Police also reported seeing injuries to Powell's face, injuries which Powell said he had sustained in a fight at an apartment in the 1800 block of North 8 th Street.

An officer at the scene reported going to the apartment Powell mentioned, finding the front door open, hearing loud music and seeing the apartment in "disarray." He reported finding no one else in the home.

Because of Powell's injuries and apparent intoxication, police first took him to Terre Haute Regional Hospital to be treated. Hospital personnel measured Powell's Blood Alcohol Content at more than three times the legal limit. Staff said they did not find any external markings on Powell's abdomen, and they said Powell did not complain of abdominal pain, according to Vigo County Coroner Dr. Susan Amos.

According to court documents, Powell was cleared and taken to jail to await a court appearance.

A jail nurse reported treating Powell around 8:30 a.m. on January 7 th. The nurse told investigators that Powell complained of severe abdominal pain and told her that he had gotten into a fight with a drinking buddy. Officials said Powell was scheduled to be seen by another doctor on January 8 th.

At 2:15 a.m. on January 8, other inmates found Powell unresponsive in his cell, according to authorities. Officials said jail and medical personnel tried to revive Powell but could not.

Coroner Amos listed the cause of Powell's death as "blunt force trauma" and said the trauma created a rupture to the intestines which led to an infection.

During the investigation that followed, police reported learning that the fight that injured Powell had taken place in the home the officer visited on the night of Powell's arrest. The apartment belonged to a long-time friend of Powell's named Kelly Lund, police said.

In a police interview, Lund said Powell came to her apartment drunk on the night of January 6 and got into an argument with her cousin, James Ross. At some point during the argument, Ross hit Powell, knocked him to the floor, and kicked him about the body while wearing a pair of work boots.

Lund told investigators that, when the fight ended, Powell got off the floor and went to the apartment's bathroom. Meanwhile, Lund said she and Ross left the apartment.

Ross was arrested January 9 th and is being held in the Vigo County Jail on a $75,000 cash bond.

To read more on this story visit http://www.wthitv.com/dpp/news/crime/charges-new-details-in-inmate-death#.UPE2QPK7f8g

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