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13 WTHR Indianapolis | Indianapolis Local News & Weather

Marion Co. jail inmate found dead in apparent stabbing

IMPD is investigating a homicide in the Marion Co. Jail for the second consecutive weekend.
Credit: MCSO
James Smith

INDIANAPOLIS —

IMPD is conducting a death investigation after a Marion County Jail inmate was found dead overnight.

The Sheriff's Office identified the dead man as James Smith, 51, who is from Sullivan County.

Smith was found unresponsive early Saturday morning, Oct. 17, and pronounced dead by medics just after 1 a.m. according to a statement released by the jail.

The cause of death appears to be an inmate-on-inmate stabbing with an improvised weapon, according to jail authorities. The Marion County Coroner’s Office and county crime lab will work to determine an official cause of death. 

Smith had been transferred to multiple housing locations for using racially-charged language toward fellow inmate, according to the jail's report of the incident.

He had been assigned to a single cell before he died.

Smith has been in custody since Aug. 22, 2020. 

Records show he had threatened to kill his mother after he was released from the Indiana Department of Corrections, and he was being held for the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office on two charges of Felony Intimidation.

Indianapolis Metro homicide detectives were called last weekend to investigate the death of Martin Cruz, 38, who died in jail as a result of inmate-on-inmate assault. Cruz was facing multiple charges of child molestation.

Anyone with information about this incident should call the IMPD Homicide Office at (317) 327-3475 or Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at (317) 262-8477 or (TIPS).