Harford sheriff's office confirms man died after trying to hang himself in jail

A Harford Detention Center inmate, who had attempted suicide at the jail, died late last month, the Harford County Sheriff's Office has confirmed.

Norman M. Miller Jr., 42, attempted to commit suicide by hanging himself at the jail on Jan. 25, according to Eddie Hopkins, spokesman for the Sheriff's Office.

Hopkins said Mr. Miller was taken to Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air and was released from the custody of the Sheriff's Office the following day.

Other than confirming that Mr. Miller later died and had been serving a 30-day sentence for a traffic charge, Hopkins said he could not provide any additional details about the incident without the approval of both Sheriff Jesse Bane and Harford County Attorney Robert McCord.

According to his death notice published Feb. 6 in The Aegis, Mr. Miller died on Jan. 29.

Maryland online court records contain an entry dated Jan. 31, that Maj. Tanya Jackson of the Sheriff's Office sent a letter to Circuit Court Judge William O. Carr and "requested a release from custody for Norman Michael Miller due to current situation. After receiving approval for release, a Detention Center staff member was dispatched to [Upper Chesapeake Medical Center] to process inmate Miller for release from custody."

The electronic file also contains the following entry from Feb. 5, referring to a letter from Carr to Diane Lutz, a parole and probation supervisor:

"Judge Carr was advised on 1/26/13 that while incarcerated Defendant attempted suicide and was still alive but considered 'clinically dead.''" The entry notes Carr wanted to inform parole and probation officers in case Mr. Miller had previously reported to them.

Mr. Miller, who in court records had several addresses, including in Essex and Bel Air, faced several traffic charges from an accident that occurred last May 23 at the intersection of Brierhill and Todd roads just east of Bel Air, according to court records.

On Dec. 21, according to court records, he pleaded guilty in Harford County District Court to driving a motor vehicle on revoked license or privilege and was sentenced to a year in jail, with 11 months suspended, and two years probation. He also pleaded guilty to failure to return to or remain at the scene of an accident and received a 60-day suspended sentence.

The 30-day jail term was reduced by two days Mr. Miller had already served after being arrested following the May accident. The court record also shows he was due to begin his sentence Jan. 18 and was work release eligible.

The Harford jail near the Bel Air Bypass, which is run by the Sheriff's Office, has experienced a number of inmate deaths over the years, including from natural and substance abuse related causes, suicides and in one instance, an inmate died after falling and hitting his head during a scuffle with jail staff.

The last death at the jail publicly reported by Sheriff's Office occurred in November 2011, when a 26-year-old man, who had been arrested in connection with a series of convenience store robberies, was found unresponsive in his cell and was pronounced dead at the hospital just over an hour later, after resuscitation efforts by jail personnel were not successful. The inmate was being housed in a medical isolation cell because he was detoxifying from intravenous heroin use, the Sheriff's Office said at the time. No foul play was suspected.

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