Another Fulton County inmate dies in custody

The cause was suicide, officials determined
Aerial photo shows the Fulton County Jail, Tuesday, August 22, 2023, in Atlanta. (Hyosub Shin / Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

Aerial photo shows the Fulton County Jail, Tuesday, August 22, 2023, in Atlanta. (Hyosub Shin / Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

A third inmate has died in the Fulton County Jail this year, a Fulton County Sheriff spokesperson confirmed.

Travis Landrey was found unresponsive inside his cell and pronounced dead Wednesday morning. According to the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, the preliminary cause of death is suicide. Lifesaving measures were performed by jail and medical staff but the inmate was pronounced dead.

Atlanta Police will investigate the death, while the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office will perform an autopsy.

Landrey was being held at the jail on murder charges in relation to the death of Christopher Eberhart, who was shot and killed in a driveway on Peachtree Battle Road in Buckhead shortly after 7 a.m. on October 13, 2022.

Landrey was arrested in Alabama, after local, state and federal agencies were able to track Eberhart’s stolen pickup truck to Interstate 65 entering Mobile County. He was taken to the Mobile County Jail before being extradited to Fulton County, where he was booked on November 20, 2023, according to jail records.

Atlanta investigators said Landrey had roots in Louisiana and had taking a Greyhound bus, along with another man, to Atlanta on Oct. 9, 2022. The two were staying at a hotel in Canton and, based on their path, investigators believe were trying to travel back to Louisiana after the shooting.

He was set to go to trial the week of February 20, 2024, but a motion for a continuance was filed and granted to allow defense attorneys to speak to witnesses, obtain records and conduct any appropriate follow-up investigation.

Judge Shukura Ingram placed a judicial hold on the case on February 12, 2024 due to matters resulting in Landrey not being available for prosecution.

Fulton County Commissioner Khadijah Abdur-Rahman said deaths continue to happen regardless of whether commissioners agree to Sheriff Patrick Labat’s funding requests. Labat has repeatedly asked for more funding and a new jail.

She feels the jail is acting as “judge and executioner.”

“My reaction is, how many people got to die at the county jail?” Abdur-Rahman said.

Abdur-Rahman said, regardless of how the deaths are occurring, the numbers cannot be tolerated.

“When people of color repeatedly die in jail, we’re sending a message on whose lives really matter,” she said.

Last week, 37-year-old inmate Leonard Fortner became the second death this year at the Fulton jail. He was attacked at 6:24 p.m. in a day room inside of the housing zone. A spokesperson for the sheriff’s office said Edward Cherry, 36, attacked Fortner and stabbed him multiple times.

Fortner was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 7:39 p.m.

Earlier this year, a 36-year-old inmate at the Fulton jail was found unresponsive in his cell, according to the sheriff’s office. Michael Anthony Holland died Jan. 10 after being taken to Grady.

Between 2009 and October 2022, more than 60 Fulton detainees died, the highest total for any jail in Georgia during that time, an AJC investigation found. Ten inmates died in custody last year, nine of whom were being held at the Rice Street facility. Another died at the Atlanta City Detention Center, according to officials.

— Staff writer Jim Gaines contributed to this article.