No indictment returned on Ector County inmate’s death

Local News

ECTOR COUNTY, Texas (Big 2/Fox 24) – No indictment was returned in the in-custody death of Wallace Howell at the Ector County Jail, according to a release Tuesday.

Howell was arrested back in June and charged with evading arrest.

Officials with the Ector County District Attorney’s Office say Howell was later involved in an altercation with several officers and was found unresponsive in his cell an hour later.

An autopsy from the Tarrant County Medical Examiners Office found Howell’s cause of death to be methamphetamine toxicity ruling it an accident, according to the release.

“The findings form the autopsy precluded holding anyone criminally (responsible) for Mr. Howell’s death,” the release reads.

No indictments were returned in the case.

However, District Attorney Bobby Bland issued a statement asking the use of force to be reviewed and addressed by the ECSO.

“The findings of the Grand Jury are consistent with State law and the evidence in this case,” Bland said in his statement Tuesday. “However, the use of force by some of the officers involved in this case was excessive and should be reviewed and addressed by the Ector County Sheriff’s Office.”

Ector County Sheriff Mike Griffis responded to the DA’s comments saying the Texas Rangers conducted a thorough investigation of the case.

“Ector County Sheriff employees were forced to intervene when an arrestee was assaulting an elderly male inside a holding cell. The suspect remained combative and had to be restrained. The suspect was found unresponsive during a routine check by staff. Standard medical procedures were immediately instituted,” the Sheriff’s statement reads. “The Texas Rangers conducted a thorough investigation of the matter and the findings of which were presented to a Grandy Jury. The Grand Jury, after examination of the evidence presented to them, determined that criminal charges against the officers were not justified. No further comments will be made due to pending civil litigation.”

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