Iowa Department of Public Safety
215 East 7th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319

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For immediate release: Alex Murphy
  DCI Public Information Officer
Investigative Operations
Iowa Department of Public Safety
Thursday, February 17, 2011
(515) 443-3014 - cell
(515) 725-6189 - office

DCI Releases Finding in Black Hawk County Inmate Death

Black Hawk County, Iowa --- On December 1, 2010, at approximately 2:00 PM, 18 year old Justin Johnson, an inmate of the Black Hawk County Jail, notified a jail deputy that he was feeling ill.  The deputy entered the cell and found that Johnson was having difficulty breathing.  Jail staff requested an ambulance for Johnson and he was taken to Allen Hospital in Waterloo, where doctors declared him deceased.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation was contacted and subsequently completed an independent investigation into the death of Justin Johnson.  Additionally, the Iowa State Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an autopsy on Johnson December 2, 2010.  On February 16, 2011 the Office of the State Medical Examiner concluded that Johnson died of natural causes.

The results of the investigation were forwarded to the Black Hawk County Attorney’s Office for review.  The investigation revealed nothing of a criminal nature occurred, and the county attorney has determined no criminal charges are warranted.

Johnson was being held in the jail on an Aggravated Assault charge and had been in the jail since November 9, 2010.


Note: A criminal charge is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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