Autopsy confirms inmate killed by Taser

Brandon Bethea (Image courtesy Harnett County Sheriff's Office)
June 14, 2011 8:40:01 AM PDT
The North Carolina Office of the Chief Medical Examiner issued autopsy results Tuesday that list a Harnett County inmate's cause of death as complications from being Tasered multiple times.

"Given the autopsy and investigative findings, it is our opinion that the cause of death is complications of conducted energy device application," reads the report.

In March, Harnett County Sheriff Larry Rollins told ABC11 that 24-year-old Brandon Jolvon Bethea of Fayetteville was Tasered at the Harnett County Detention Center in Lillington after getting into an altercation with deputies.

Rollins said Bethea been in court earlier in the day and grew agitated when he was returned to jail. The medical examiner's report said Bethea suffered from schizophrenia and asthma.

Officers used a Taser - which emits a powerful electric charge - to control Bethea.

The autopsy report says officers noticed Bethea was non-responsive about 20 minutes after he was Tasered and they began CPR until EMS paramedics arrived.

Bethea was taken to Betsy Johnson Regional Hospital in Dunn where he was pronounced dead.

The report says Bethea was not handcuffed or restrained in any other way when he was Tasered.

Bethea had been in the Harnett County Detention Center under a $150,000 bond since January 23 after his arrest on two counts of attempted first-degree sex offense, attempted armed robbery with a dangerous weapon, possession of a firearm by a felon, and selling a counterfeit controlled substance.

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