AG investigates suspended sheriff's involvement in inmate death

3 months 1 week 6 days ago Wednesday, May 10 2017 May 10, 2017 Wednesday, May 10, 2017 7:34:00 PM CDT May 10, 2017 in Top Stories
By: Abby Breidenbach, KOMU 8 Reporter

JEFFERSON CITY - Attorney General Josh Hawley has announced his office has launched a "full fledged criminal investigation" into an altercation that took place in a Mississippi County jail Friday night. This instance, involving local law enforcement and a prisoner named Tory Sanders, resulted in Sanders' death. 

Hawley said he believes there were two altercations between Sanders and jail personnel Friday evening, and the second one directly involved Mississippi County Sheriff Cory Hutcheson. 

According to Hawley, Hutcheson led a group of six or seven jail personnel into Sanders' cell to engage in an altercation, which ended in a call to the paramedics, a trip to the local hospital and the pronunciation of Sanders' death shortly after. 

Hutcheson was present and giving orders in the jail despite the suspension of his law enforcement license. On April 5, just about a month before the incident with Sanders, the attorney general's office brought a series of criminal charges against Hutcheson. 

Hawley's office also asked the court to either refuse bond and keep him locked up, or refuse him any ability to participate in law enforcement or be allowed in the jail. The judge refused both requests and set a bond for Hutcheson to be released.

The Department of Public Safety suspended Hutcheson from law enforcement, but he still had access to the jail under the terms. He was not, however, allowed to act as sheriff.

Hawley said Hutcheson faces 18 separate criminal counts including many felony counts. These were in place before Friday's incident. Some of those include robbery, assault, forgery and illegal surveillance.

After Sanders' death, the attorney general's office asked the court on an emergency basis to strip Hutcheson of his title of sheriff and remove him from office. Hawley said the office has not brought a motion of this sort in more than two decades.

The attorney general will continue actively investigating and will hold a press conference Thursday afternoon along with Gov. Eric Greitens.

(Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct a misspelled last name.)

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