2 More Dead Bexar County Jail Inmates

photo of David Alan Watts
Inmate David Alan Watts

Pedophile Found Dead in Cell

David Alan Watts was found unresponsive in his cell early Monday morning.  72-year old Watts was waiting to be transferred to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for a 15 year sentence he received for Indecency with a Child.  Medical staff worked on Watts but according to the MySanAntonio.com article, he died about 30 minutes after he was found.

At the current time it is assumed that Watts suffered from some kind of medical condition or episode.  Given his age, and no doubt stress levels, it’s not impossible that he could have had a heart attack.  We’ll find out after the Medical Examiner does an autopsy to determine the cause of death.  Regardless, it still has to be reported to Jail Standards as another in-custody death.  However, if it does turn out to be a medical issue that could not be predicted, I don’t believe it will count against the jail.

Inmate Taken Off Life-Support

Bexar County Jail
Rondell Lee Peterson

However, Rondell Lee Peterson is another story.  He was arrested on the first of November and hung himself the very next day.  You can read the post we wrote about him here.  At the time we noted that Peterson had been placed in a medically induced coma and said that did not bode well.  We’ve heard those same words before and unless we’re missing one, I don’t believe any of the inmates we’ve written about have survived.

Rondell Lee Peterson is no different.  His family made the decision to take him off life-support on Monday allowing Peterson to die.  Though Peterson was at the hospital, I believe he was still considered to be in the custody of the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office.  That would make him another in-custody death; this one definitely being a negative reflection on the jail.

A Desperate Sheriff

When speaking to the media about Peterson’s attempted suicide, Sheriff Javier Salazar made the following comment, “It appears we caught him in time.”  I found that strange since he already knew that Peterson had been placed into a medically induced coma and he’s got to know by now that the odds were against Peterson coming out of it.  Sheriff Salazar even goes on to say,  “I’m hoping that he makes it.”

So why would he say that it appeared they caught him in time?  The only thing I can figure is that his real concern was the optics of taking a dead body out of the jail as opposed to taking someone out who was still alive but was brain dead.  You can downplay the second situation, make it look like you did everything you could, to try to keep yet another death from impacting his re-election campaign.

What Happened to Peterson?

The reality is, we don’t know very much at all about the death of Rondell Lee Peterson.  He was found hanging.  Okay.  With what?  A sheet?  Where was it tied?  Why was he alone?  About how long was his air flow cut off?  Did he exhibit any signs of being a suicide risk when he was booked?  Did the deputy who found him just happen across him or was it a scheduled check?  I want to know if finding Peterson was dumb luck or not, though I doubt we’ll get a straight answer now.  For a sheriff who claims to be so transparent, he sure manages to hide a lot of information.

You can read the KSAT 12 article on Rondell Lee Peterson at this link.

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