Suicide death reported at Tri-County Jail

Ross Hooten’s cause of death has been ruled suicide by hanging, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s office.

He was booked into the jail on Jan. 15 pending charges of burglary, possession of criminal tools, criminal damaging and attempted theft out of Champaign County Municipal Court, Jail Executive Director Scott Springhetti said.

Hooten had a history of arrests and had been in the jail previously, Springhetti said. He had previously been placed on suicide watch during incarcerations in 2006 and 2009 after family members called to express concern for his well-being.

“He was seen by our mental health and medical staff,” Springhetti said, and Hooten wasn’t on suicide watch at the time of this incident.

He was found by jail staff members at 4 p.m. Jan. 21 during a headcount. They began CPR and used an automated external defibrillator on him until Mechanicsburg medics arrived, Springhetti said.

Hooten had a pulse when he was transported to Mercy Memorial Hospital in Urbana. He was later taken to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton.

Jail staff was notified on Saturday that he had died.

The Champaign County Sheriff’s Office took a report and is still investigating the death.

Hooten, 28, listed an address in Springfield on his court documents earlier this month, but previously lived in Urbana.

There have been three other suicides at the Tri-County Jail in the past seven years, Springhetti said — one in 2007 and two in 2013.

Last year one inmate died as the result of an assault in April and another died from natural causes in October.