Stephens Co. Jail Suicide

STEPHENS CO. Okla_ An inmate committed suicide Monday in the Stephens County Jail.

Sheriff Wayne McKinney said Clarence Hill III hanged himself with his T-shirt inside his holding cell. Hill was arrested for public intoxication at a store in Duncan early Monday afternoon, and it was only three hours later that officers would find him unconscious.

While the investigation is still ongoing, Sheriff McKinney suspects no foul play. He said Clarence Hill had not even completed the full booking process at the time of his suicide. He was in a holding cell alone because of his high level of intoxication at the time of his arrest.

It all began as a simple disturbance. A sheriff's deputy was told Clarence Hill was causing a scene inside a Duncan retail store.

"The deputy made contact with this individual," McKinney said. "He was in plain clothes at that time. He had a conversation with him for a few minutes, but when the man learned he was a police officer, he ran out the front door and attempted to get into a car."

Due to his high level of intoxication, the sheriff deputy refused to let him drive away. So, he was detained and arrested.

"He had a very strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath," McKinney said. "He couldn't stand without someone supporting him. He was very loud. He was not really belligerent and not really fighting, just very boisterous, loud, and uncooperative."

It's because he was in this state that he was placed in a holding cell until enough of the alcohol was out of his system. Officers checked on him every 15 minutes. An officer even talked to him just 5 minutes before he committed suicide.

"She went by and talked to him," McKinney said. "She said he was still intoxicated sitting in the bench there."

It was only minutes later that a guard saw the worst possible scene.

"He had placed his T-shirt around his neck and around a cinder block in the middle," McKinney said. "It gives them a little privacy where the restroom is in that particular cell. He had hung himself."

Officers immediately began CPR, and Hill was taken to Duncan Regional Hospital where he was pronounced dead. McKinney said Hill leaves a 16-year-old son behind.

"It's a very sad situation, but it's a reality that goes with all the jail systems," McKinney said. "My heart goes out to his son who is now going to live the rest of his life without a father. It's very sad. It's somebody determined to commit suicide. It would be the person that you wouldn't think would do it, just because he is under the influence of alcohol. Those are the kinds I guess that you have to worry about."

Hill did have a previous record. He was booked into the Stephens County Jail about two weeks ago by the City of Duncan on obstruction of justice.