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Peppers autopsy released

An autopsy report released Jan. 24 indicates Washington County Detention Center inmate Stewart Peppers died from “excited delirium associated with the misuse of Nandrolone Decanoate, exogenous testosterone and acute cannabinoid.”
District Attorney General Tony Clark said the autopsy is one of the lengthiest he has seen in 20 years and Clark’s first with excited delirium as the cause. “It goes into great detail and states the manner was accidental,” he said during a joint press conference with Sheriff Ed Graybeal held hours after the report was received.
Graybeal said the incident was also the Detention Center’s first experience with excited delirium. “We’ve never had this in our jail before,” he said, adding the unusual behavior caused by the condition would be hard for the staff to recognize based on the large number of inmates who are under the influence of drugs.
Clark said the public interest surrounding the death of five inmates in the Detention Center last year prompted the press conference. “We wanted to come forward today because there have been so many questions, but I can assure you protocol was followed in every case.”
According to Clark, the two cases of suicide and the one death from heart attack have been closed. With Peppers’ cause of death determined to be drug-related, the last autopsy awaited is that of an inmate who died at the Detention Center while in-transit to another location.
“It’s tragic that they happened in the jail, but it happens on the street also,” Clark said. “The public wants to group these together, but I see no causal relation.”
However, the Peppers’ investigation is not closed. “We needed the autopsy to know the cause and manner of death, but that is only one piece,” Clark said. The results will now be added to the information compiled from interviews with everyone who was present in the Detention Center on April 29, 2013, when Peppers became violent and had to be restrained.
“We will put everything together and decide whether to close the case or continue,” Clark said.
According to the court document filed by attorney Jeff Ward, “…the defendants used the amount of force that was reasonably necessary to try and control an extremely strong and manic individual who posed a severe threat to the officers, to himself and to the security of the WCDC.”
When it was determined Peppers had stopped breathing and did not have a pulse, the document states, CPR was started and EMS was called immediately.
Peppers was transported by ambulance to an area hospital where he died a short time later.
Graybeal said he could not comment on the $20 million lawsuit filed during July by Peppers’ parents.