Inmate’s death the third this year at Cobb County jail

GBI investigating inmate's death at Cobb County Adult Detention Center

GBI investigating inmate's death at Cobb County Adult Detention Center

The third inmate death this year at the Cobb County Adult Detention Center is under review by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

The inmate was rushed to an area hospital after a medical episode left him “bleeding while vomiting,” the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Thursday.

The GBI identified the man as Stanley James Fowler, 66. Superior Court records show Fowler pleaded guilty to theft by taking and possession of heroin March 15 and was sentenced to three years probation.

Described as transient by jail officials, Fowler was booked into the detention center Monday for failure to appear. He told jailers he suffered from stage IV throat and stomach cancer and facility personnel transferred him to the infirmary for observation. When his condition worsened Wednesday, an ambulance rushed him to Wellstar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta. He died there Wednesday night.

Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Saba Long said it marked the third inmate death this year. An inmate awaiting extradition to Colorado, where he faced multiple felonies of a sexual nature, died April 29 a day after he was found unconscious inside the jail following a suicide attempt.

Another inmate died March 21 less than 24 hours after being booked into the jail for criminal trespassing. The man was placed in a holding cell after he became combative and attacked deputies. The Sheriff’s Office at the time said he appeared to be under the influence. Long said Thursday that has not been confirmed and investigators are still awaiting a final pathology report. Neither of those inmates’ names have been released.

At least 13 inmates housed at the Cobb County Adult Detention Center have died since December 2018. Seven of them occurred in 2020, the Sheriff’s Office confirmed Thursday.

Some of the deaths have resulted in lawsuits. Family members, activists and civil rights organizations have in the past criticized the jail’s staffing levels and the medical care provided to detainees.

Following a public outcry over conditions at the jail, then-District Attorney Joyette Holmes asked the U.S. Department of Justice to step in and conduct an external probe of the inmate deaths.

Sheriff Craig Owens has called in the Georgia Bureau of Investigations to conduct an independent investigation. Owens pledged to have the GBI investigate all inmate deaths at the jail when he took office in January.

The Sheriff’s Office will conduct an internal investigation to ensure all of the jail’s protocols were followed in Fowler’s death, Long said.