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Pinellas County inmate found dead one day after his arrest

Detectives said there were no obvious signs of injury and no reports of a confrontation or use of force.
James Johnstone, 54, of Pinellas County was pronounced dead Sunday afternoon after jail personnel found him in an unresponsive state. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
James Johnstone, 54, of Pinellas County was pronounced dead Sunday afternoon after jail personnel found him in an unresponsive state. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
Published Feb. 10
Updated Feb. 10

A Pinellas County man died in jail Sunday, one day after his arrest, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

James Johnstone, 54, was found unresponsive at about 2:30 p.m. Sunday after fellow inmates reported his condition to jail personnel. Medical staff performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Johnstone but were unable to revive him.

Johnstone was pronounced dead shortly after 3 p.m.

Detectives say that there were no obvious signs of injury and no reports of a confrontation or use of force. The death, detectives say, does not appear suspicious in nature.

The Medical Examiner’s Office will conduct an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death.

Johnstone had been arrested Saturday for failing to appear at a Feb. 3 court hearing for a trespassing charge.

His arrest warrant listed him as homeless. According to county court records, he had been charged fifty times in the past 23 years for a variety of offenses, which include panhandling, trespassing and drug, alcohol and traffic infractions.

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