Coroner's inquest set in jail inmate death

2013-10-02T14:55:00Z 2014-04-16T10:58:14Z Coroner's inquest set in jail inmate deathGazette Staff The Billings Gazette

A coroner’s inquest has been scheduled later this month to examine the death of a 34-year-old Billings man at the Yellowstone County Detention Facility.

The inquest into the death of Steven Tyler Russo will be held Oct. 29, according to the Yellowstone County Attorney’s Office.

Russo died at a Billings hospital after jail staff found him unresponsive and unconscious in a shower on June 6. Officials said it appeared that Russo used clothing to hang himself.

Russo had been booked into the jail the day before on charges of burglary, theft, obstructing and resisting arrest.

Russo’s death was the second suicide at the jail this year. A coroner’s jury ruled in May that the Jan. 18 death of inmate Chad Shuler was a suicide.

Shuler died by hanging after he wedged a sheet into his cell door. He had been in jail for 10 days following his arrest for a probation violation.

A coroner’s inquest is required under state law any time a person dies in custody or when law enforcement officers are involved in a death.

Three other coroner’s inquest hearings are pending in Yellowstone County, including the Jan. 6 shooting death of Daniel Brawley by a Billings police officer.

Inquest hearings will also be held for the May 17 shooting death of Thomas Hilger in Worden by a sheriff’s deputy, and the July 5 shooting death in Billings by a sheriff’s deputy of escaped Montana State Prison inmate Dean Randolph Jess.

Dates for the three inquest hearings have yet to be scheduled.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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