A Pulaski County jail inmate died in her jail cell two weeks after she was arrested in the stabbing of a hospital security guard, authorities said Thursday.
Trillus Smith, 22, was found unresponsive in her cell at 5 a.m. Wednesday, said Lt. Cody Burk, a spokesman for the Pulaski County sheriff's office.
Smith, who was arrested Feb. 2 after a guard at Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock was stabbed in the neck with a pen, was alone in the cell at the time of her death, Burk said. There were no signs of trauma to her body, and authorities said it did not appear that Smith killed herself.
Her body has been sent to the state Crime Laboratory for an autopsy.
Pulaski County Coroner Gerone Hobbs did not return a telephone message Thursday.
It's the 17th death in the jail since 2011, sheriff's office records indicate. Eight of those deaths were ruled suicides. Four were considered natural deaths, two were ruled as overdoses and one was by injury. The causes of two deaths, including Smith's, were not determined.
Burk said he could not comment on whether Smith had any medical issues while incarcerated.
Byron Jenkins, Smith's uncle, said Thursday that his niece had no medical problems. He last saw her Feb. 2 when she was charged with three offenses after her arrest.
"She was a healthy 22-year-old," he said. "She was fine."
Smith was arrested at Baptist Health Medical Center at about 3:15 a.m. Feb. 2, an arrest report filed by Pulaski County sheriff's Deputy James Cavin said.
Smith was a patient at the hospital and attempted to walk into another room where another patient was changing clothes. Cavin reported that he told Smith she could not enter, and two security guards took her back to her own room.
Cavin said Smith stabbed Lt. Kyle Martin in the neck with an ink pen. When Cavin learned that hospital officials were in the process of dismissing Smith, he arrested her.
Cavin wrote that he placed Smith in the back seat of his patrol car and she began kicking the rear windshield and damaged one of the mounted blue lights on the back of the car.
Cavin said that when he tried to control Smith's legs, she leaned forward and bit his right wrist. Cavin dosed her with pepper spray and "gained compliance" from Smith, he said in the report.
Smith was charged with second-degree battery, aggravated assault and second-degree criminal mischief.
Jenkins said his niece sought treatment at the hospital that night for "psychological issues." He said she had been distraught over the death of her father three years ago and had gone to the hospital a few times for help.
"It doesn't add up," Jenkins said of Smith's death. "She was placed on suicide watch when she was in the jail. She wasn't supposed to be alone. We thought the jail was the best place for her to be."
He said he and other family members will ask for a private autopsy to be conducted on Smith.
State Desk on 02/17/2017
Print Headline: Woman dies in Pulaski County jail; 22-year-old inmate detained 2 weeks in stabbing of hospital security guard