OGDEN — An arrestee being led to his cell found his new cellmate hanging inside, according to an investigation of the Jan. 9 death in the Weber County Jail.
“I ain’t ... going in there,” the new inmate told the corrections deputy who had directed him to the cell, and the officer then found Roger David Campbell, 53, without a pulse and unresponsive but still warm to the touch, investigative documents said.
That was at 6:03 a.m., said a supplemental report filed by that officer. A different officer reported he had looked in on Campbell through the cell window just a few minutes earlier while picking up breakfast trays.
Campbell had been served breakfast about 10 minutes before, Lt. Joshua Marigoni, corrections spokesman, said Wednesday.
By 6:06 a.m., jail nurses were performing CPR on Campbell, who could not be revived and was pronounced dead by the jail doctor at 6:20 a.m.
A Weber County Sheriff’s Office investigative report, obtained with a public records request, revealed that timeline and concluded Campbell was alone in the cell after last being seen alive by a jail deputy.
A sheriff’s investigator, Garn Sever, reported he interviewed 19 Golf pod inmates later that day, finding that none had seen or heard anything unusual involving Campbell.
The investigator also reviewed 11 ½ hours of cell block security video to see whether anyone else had been in Campbell’s cell.
Sever attended the autopsy the next day at the Office of the Utah Medical Examiner.
“I did not notice any other distinguishing marks on his body that would suggest that something other than (suicide) had occurred,” Sever reported.
Marigoni said the medical examiner report later listed the death as a suicide.
Campbell’s death was the first in the Weber jail since Casey James Berensen, 44, was found hanging May 31, 2018.
A compilation of jail death information by a state committee showed more than half of the 71 reported deaths in Utah’s county jails from 2013 through 2017 were suicides.
The committee recommended that inmate intake screening be enhanced in all jails to increase the likelihood of preventing suicides.
Sever reported he researched sheriff’s office records on Campbell and learned the man had been booked into the jail five other times since 2005.
He said Campbell was a “model” inmate and had never indicated any suicidal ideation on his booking intake screening forms.
People who die by suicide in jail “are at the very rock bottom of their mental status,” Marigoni said.
“They’re now looking at a charge, they’re locked up, and maybe that person’s family has abandoned them,” he said. “All of these things culminate and sometimes it gets people thinking this is the last thing they can do.”
Sheriff’s officers “didn’t get into this to ever watch a death or see somebody suffer,” he added.
Deputy Hunter Tomlinson’s supplemental report said that when he delivered Campbell’s meal, the inmate was lying on his bunk.
Later, when he picked up the tray at 6 a.m., Tomlinson said Campbell was “sitting upright on his toilet facing the back of his cell leaning slightly to the right. He said Campbell’s left arm was down by his waist and “it looked like he had been using the toilet.”
Jail personnel who cut Campbell down at about 6:05 a.m. said he was hanging between the top bunk and the toilet.
Campbell was arrested Jan. 6 on a warrant for failure to appear in court. Weber County prosecutors filed charges Jan. 8 accusing him of defrauding an elderly Hooper woman of more than $100,000 over the past three years and using a stolen credit card to make a $1,000 purchase at the Riverdale Walmart three days before Christmas.
In 2nd District Court charging documents, prosecutors alleged Campbell systematically looted the finances of an 88-year-old woman who hired him to install a sprinkler system in 2015.
Efforts to contact Campbell’s next of kin were unsuccessful. Marigoni said that relative had requested that his or her identity or contact information not be disclosed.