No charges for inmate involved in death of other prisoner at Denver jail

Posted at 5:35 PM, Jul 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-11 19:35:53-04

DENVER – The Denver district attorney won’t charge the inmate involved in an altercation Monday morning that left another inmate dead.

The Denver Office of the Medical Examiner on Tuesday identified the inmate who died in what authorities said was an altercation between two inmates as William O. Anderson, 42. His cause and manner of death have yet to be determined pending further investigation, OME said.

After reviewing evidence, the district attorney’s office decided that there was a likelihood the man involved in the fight with Anderson wouldn’t be convicted if the case went to trial, according to Ken Lane, a spokesman for the Denver district attorney.

“You’re looking at mutual combat and self-defense issues,” Lane told Denver7.

Anderson and the 19-year-old inmate were housed inside a jail “pod” at the time, along with several other inmates, when the fight began.

Two sources told Denver7 that Anderson hit his head after being punched during the fight.

Anderson was in jail after being arrested for a probation violation on July 1 after pleading guilty to drug possession and misdemeanor assault charges earlier this year.

The 19-year-old was in custody while awaiting charges related to his underage drinking and driving and leaving the scene of an accident, according to court records.

The local sheriff’s deputy union expressed concerns Monday about a shortage of deputies at the jail, which is run by the Denver Sheriff Department.

But the Sheriff Department pushed back in a statement to Denver7 Monday, as Sheriff Patrick Firman said that “the facility was appropriately staffed and the housing unit where the incident occurred was below capacity.”

Denver7 is not identifying the 19-year-old involved in the fight that precluded Anderson’s death because he has not been charged with a crime in this case.