Harford detention center inmate dies in cell early Saturday

A Harford County Detention Center inmate who police said was refusing to take his prescribed medications was found dead in his cell Saturday morning.

The inmate, James Allen Zornes, 54, from Bel Air, was found unresponsive in his cell at 5:17 a.m. Saturday, according to the Harford County Sheriff’s Office, which oversees the jail.

Deputies immediately called for medical staff at the detention center and available deputies to respond and begin life-saving efforts, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Medical staff began CPR and applied an automated external defibrillator, without success.

Members of the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company responded and continued life-saving efforts, but Zornes was pronounced deceased at 6:16 a.m., according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Detectives with the Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division will investigate Zornes’ death.

A preliminary investigation indicated that Zornes suffered from multiple medical conditions and had been refusing medication, according to the Sheriff’s Office. There were no signs of trauma or foul play, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Zornes was alone in his cell when he died, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner was notified and responded to transport the body for an autopsy.

Zornes was booked into the Detention Center on April 2 for failing to register as a sex offender. He had pleaded guilty in May 2016 to one count of possession with intent to distribute child pornography and sentenced to seven years in jail, with all but five years suspended.

The investigation is ongoing.

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