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Monday, January 10, 2011

FBI Opens Probe Into Death Following Man's Arrest

FBI opens probe into man's death

The McAlester News-Capital by James Beaty - December 30, 2010

McALESTER, OK — The FBI has opened a probe in the death of a Eufaula man who died in a Tulsa hospital two days following his arrest by Quinton police and incarceration in the Pittsburg County Jail, the News-Capital has learned. Ricky Lanham, 31, died in Tulsa on Dec. 23, according to records. After Lanham died, the state Medical Examiner’s office conducted an autopsy. “The cause of death is blunt trauma to the head,” said Cherokee Ballard, spokesperson for the state Medical Examiner’s Office. A determination on the manner of death is pending, Ballard said on Wednesday afternoon. Lanham had been booked into the Pittsburg County Jail at 3:41 p.m. on Dec. 21 on initial complaints of public intoxication, possession of a controlled substance and resisting an officer. Pittsburg County Sheriff Joel Kerns said his officers became involved in the case after Quinton police asked for assistance. Kerns confirmed that the FBI had been to the Pittsburg County Sheriff’s Department on Wednesday in connection with an inquiry into Lanham’s death. “They have been here,” Kerns told the News-Capital. “We welcome the investigation,” said Kerns. Lanham had been arrested by Quinton police on Dec. 21 for public intoxication at Fourth and Broadway in Quinton, according to records. Quinton Police Chief John Barbee was transporting Lanham to the jail when he radioed and sought assistance, Kerns said. The sheriff said his officers met Barbee at Buffalo Mountain Road, east of McAlester. After the Pittsburg County and Quinton police officers met, Lanham was taken from the Quinton police vehicle and placed in a Pittsburg County Sheriff’s Department vehicle, the sheriff said. He was transported to the McAlester Regional Health Center, Kerns said. Asked why Lanham had been transported to the hospital, Kerns said Lanham appeared to be intoxicated on drugs or alcohol. The sheriff said Lanham was kept at the hospital for several hours, then released to the Quinton police chief for transportation to the county jail. Following the 3:41 p.m. booking on Dec. 21, Lanham was kept in an observation cell at the jail, according to the sheriff. Sheriff’s personnel called an ambulance that night after Lanham was observed having difficulty breathing, the sheriff said. Lanham was transported back to the McAlester hospital after the ambulance was called on the night of Dec. 21 and then later was transferred to St. John’s in Tulsa, the sheriff said. Lanham was released on his own recognizance, known as a medical OR, according to the sheriff’s department. Following his transfer to the Tulsa hospital, Lanham died on Dec. 23, according to funeral records. The state Medical Examiner’s office got the call from St. John Medical Center at 1:45 p.m. on Dec. 23, Ballard said. She said late Wednesday afternoon it remained uncertain exactly when a manner of death regarding Lanham will be determined by the Medical Examiner’s office. Contact James Beaty at

1 comment:

ShellyRhenae said...

Kudos to you for getting the word out to the public on matters such as Rickys and many, many thanks. I only hope that the people who caused and/or allowed his death to occur never get to spend another holiday or family moment without realizing that they have robbed a mother from her child, siblings of their brother and close family members of their loved one.....and pray it never happens to them. It has been almost 4 months since we buried my cousin, Ricky, and while they say time heals all things, it never seems to happen fast enough.