Saturday, December 16, 2017
Public safety

Hernando County jail inmate dies of apparent suicide

BROOKSVILLE — A 32-year-old inmate in the Hernando County Detention Center died from an apparent suicide Monday night.

The Hernando County Sheriff's Office reported that Jesse Ray Beaman was pronounced dead by rescue workers shortly after they had arrived at the jail about 11:45 p.m.

According to report, staff at the detention center noticed Beaman was unconscious and performed CPR on him until rescue personnel arrived.

Court and police records show that Beaman had several arrests for trespassing and theft in Hernando and Pasco counties during the past year. His latest arrest came on March 28 for retail grand theft after a Brooksville police officer saw him pushing a shopping cart filled with $526 worth of merchandise near the Walmart Supercenter in Brooksville. He was due to be arraigned on the charge on April 16.

Beaman's mother, Penny Beaman, of Indianapolis, said she was saddened by the news of the death of her son, but wasn't surprised that he was in jail again. Although she hadn't seen him in about a year, she attributed his repeated run-ins with the law on drug use.

"He was a good kid until he started using them," she said. "It made him do stupid stuff."

Penny Beaman said she believed her son may have suffered from untreated bipolar disorder. He moved to Hernando County about six months ago to be near his 9-year-old son, she said.

"All I know is that he wasn't himself the last time I saw him," she said. "People who knew him said he was moody and seemed depressed all the time."

Court records show that Beaman was found guilty of violating a domestic violence injunction in early March and was credited with serving 32 days in the county jail.

Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Denise Moloney declined to say how Beaman died — only that deputies were investigating the death and whether the jail had followed proper procedure.

The last suicide inside the county-operated facility occurred two years ago when 47-year-old Charles Michael DeHart hanged himself in a wing of the jail for inmates needing close observation.

DeHart had been blinded two years earlier when he shot himself in the head. The injury caused brain damage, and doctors initially determined he wasn't fit to stand trial for armed robbery and other charges — a determination that was later reversed.

An investigation into his death found that the deputy assigned to check on DeHart every 15 minutes had failed to observe him for the hour and 45 minutes before he committed suicide. The deputy resigned before the investigation was finished.

Logan Neill can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1435.

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