No charges in Snohomish County jail death

EVERETT, Wash. -- Corrections officers will not be charged in connection with the Snohomish County jail death of an accused shoplifter.

The Daily Herald reports the county's prosecuting attorney has concluded that the fatal struggle between a corrections officer and an Everett man didn't amount to a crime.

Prosecutor Mark Roe won't file criminal charges against the five corrections officers who struggled to restrain 59-year-old Bill Williams. He died after spending less than an hour in the jail.

An autopsy found that he died of a heart attack after suffering from a form of mania that can be common among people living with severe mental illness.

Williams had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar and psychotic disorders. He didn't have any significant criminal history. He had never been booked into the county jail before Sept. 14.

Williams is one of eight inmates who have died inside the Snohomish County Jail since 2010. In July, a 51-year-old woman died in the jail's medical unit, according to the Snohomish County sheriff's office.

The family of another woman who died in the Snohomish County Jail recently filed a $10 million wrongful death claim.

The claim says complacency by guards and medical staff resulted in the November 2011 death of 27-year-old Lyndsey Elizabeth Lason, who had been arrested for investigation of theft and prostitution.

Michael Saffioti, 22, died in a Snohomish County Jail cell in July of what his mother believes was a severe allergic reaction.

Despite witness testimony that jail guards mocked the dying man, the Sheriff's Office announced earlier this year it would not recommend charges against the guards or staff.

In response to the deaths, the Snohomish County Sheriff Ty Trenary announced last month that the jail will soon hire a doctor to deal with inmates' medical needs.

Trenary said that's one of several changes planned to improve medical treatment in the jail. The plan also includes hiring more nurses and mental health professionals, moving from paper to electronic medical records, and more closely screening inmates before they're booked.