On Saturday, Oct. 2, the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department reported that, at just after 7 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 29, a 52-year-old inmate, William Easterling, was found “unresponsive inside a holding cell” at the county’s jail in High Point and later died from what’s thought to be suicide.
According to the report from the department, life-saving measures were immediately undertaken by detention staff and jail medical staff. Emergency Medical Services (EMS) was called and a team responded to the jail in about 12 minutes. However, those efforts failed to save Easterling.
Soon after EMS arrived, Easterling was taken to High Point Regional Hospital where he died at 8:34 p.m.
According to the report, “At this time, the cause of death is suspected to be suicide, but the investigation into Mr. Easterling’s death is still ongoing.”
If this turns out to have been a suicide, it will be the fourth in the county’s two jails in the last two and a half years.
The death also comes in the wake of the death of a 27-year-old inmate last month.
The Sheriff’s Department stated that Easterling’s next of kin has been notified,
Easterling was arrested in Davidson County and transferred to the High Point Detention Center by the Davidson County Sheriff’s Department on Thursday, Sept. 14.
He was charged with Misdemeanor Probation Violation.
According to the report, “He was serving probation for Impaired Driving in Randolph County and Second or Subsequent Failure to Appear for Probation Violation and he was held on a civil case for Nonsupport of Child.”
Easterling originally faced a $25,000 secured bond for the criminal charges and a $5,000 cash bond for the civil charge.
At his first court appearance – on Friday, Sept. 15 – his bonds were reduced to $10,000 secured for the criminal charges and a Written Promise to Appear for the civil charge.
Easterling then had another court appearance on Thursday, Sept. 21, during which he was sentenced to 12 months in the Department of Adult Corrections Statewide Misdemeanant Confinement Program for “Misdemeanor Probation Violation and Second or Subsequent Failure to Appear for Probation Violation charges.”
In 2020, the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department made changes in procedures to help reduce the possibility of suicides in the jails, but obviously those moves didn’t prevent this death, which is still under investigation.