A report that the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department was required to send to the State of North Carolina after an inmate hung himself in the county’s jail in High Point has provided new details regarding the death.
Previously, the Sheriff’s Department had not disclosed how the inmate hung himself; however, in the new report to the state, Sheriff’s Department officials state that inmate Joseph William Martin hung himself with a bed sheet.
The report to the state also sets the inmate’s time of death at Monday morning – rather than late Tuesday night, as the department stated to the Rhino Times earlier. According to the report to the state from the Sheriff’s Department, released to the Rhino Times in response to a public records request, Martin died by suicidal hanging at 10:23 a.m. on Monday, May 20. The Sheriff’s Department, in a Thursday, May 23 email to the Rhino Times, stated that Martin “died at approximately 11:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at Moses Cone Hospital.”
When asked about the discrepancy between that and the time of death initially provided to the Rhino Times, Max Benbassat, a spokesman for the Sheriff’s Department, stated that the Monday morning time was the one that should be used by the media going forward. He wrote in an email that, “The [Tuesday night] time of death was based off when the person was declared braindead.”
The report that the Sheriff’s Department made to the state also gives information about the rounds made by jail guards and the last time Martin was seen alive, as well as the time he was found hanging by a bed sheet. According to that report, Martin was seen alive and well at 3:35 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, and was found hanging at 4:05 p.m.
Martin, who was born in Pittsburgh and employed at East Coast Wings, was arrested by High Point Police at 1000 Mall Loop Road in High Point. That’s the address of a local Courtyard by Marriot hotel.
Martin was charged with felony credit card fraud, obtaining property by false pretenses and conspiracy to commit fraud. He also faced charges of felony possession of heroin and charges related to the manufacture and/or distribution of drugs.