24-year-old Black Male Arrested for Alleged $5 Theft found Dead in jail cell


Marquise Brown | Staff Writer

Jamychael Mitchell, a young black man arrested by police in Portsmouth, VA., has been found dead in jail. Mitchell died after spending almost four months behind bars without bail for stealing five dollars worth of groceries.

Mitchell suffered from mental health problems according to the Guardian, and was discovered by guards lying on the floor of his cell early last Wednesday. While his body is still awaiting an autopsy, senior prison officials said his death “was not being treated as suspicious.”

“As of right now it is deemed ‘natural causes’,”Natasha Perry, the master jail officer at the Hampton Roads regional jail in Portsmouth said. Perry said there were no obvious outward signs of injury to the 24-year-old’s body.

 A Portsmouth District Court clerk said Mitchell was accused of stealing a bottle of Mountain Dew, a Snickers bar and a zebra cake worth a total of $5 from 7- Eleven. According to the Guardian, officials from the court, the police department and the jail could not explain why Mitchell was not given the opportunity to be released on bail.

Mitchell  had previously been in jail twice: once in April 2010 and January 2012 on larceny and trespassing charges.

Prison officials said that Mitchell had also been declining to eat.  While being detained he lost an estimated 65 pounds. “His body failed,” said Roxanne Adams, Mitchell’s aunt. “It is extraordinary.  The person I saw deceased was not even the person I knew”. 

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