Hawley details timeline of man's death in Mississippi County Jail

4 months 1 week 6 days ago Thursday, May 11 2017 May 11, 2017 Thursday, May 11, 2017 6:36:00 PM CDT May 11, 2017 in News
By: Jacob Cavaiani, KOMU 8 Digital Producer and Lauren Petterson, KOMU 8 Reporter
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JEFFERSON CITY - Attorney General Josh Hawley said his office is investigating the death of man who law enforcement detained in a Mississippi County jail last Friday. At a press conference on Thursday, he detailed the timeline of events leading up to Tory Sanders' death, a death that was a key reason for the temporary dismissal of embattled Sheriff Cory Hutcheson.

Hawley said Sanders left his home in Nashville, Tennessee, last Thursday. On Thursday night, Sanders arrived in Charleston, Missouri.

"It appears Mr. Sanders was confused as to where he was," Hawley said.

On Friday morning, Sanders came in contact with police officers in Charleston at a convenience store. He asked the officers if he could see a counselor and told them he had a warrant for his arrest in Nashville. According to Hawley, the warrant was not extraditable. 

"Missouri law enforcement were not asked to detain or send Mr. Sanders back to Tennessee," Hawley said.

Around noon on Friday, a mental health professional evaluated Sanders and said he did not need to be committed and he should be released. 

Hawley said Sanders declined to leave holding cell he was in. Around 4 p.m., a law enforcement officer gave his cell phone to Sanders so he could call his family.

Around the same time, the jail asked a mental health professional to come back. The mental health professional recommended a "96-hour mental health hold" for Sanders after evaluating him a second time. Again, Sanders did not want to move holding cells and became increasingly agitated.

The jail contacted Charleston police officers so they could come to the jail and use pepper spray to help move Sanders after 6 p.m. 

“We believe jail personnel deployed Tasers at least three times to Mr. Sanders,” Hawley said.

He did not specify exactly when Tasers were used.

At about 7 p.m., Mississippi County Sheriff Cory Hutcheson got to the jail and organized jail personnel and Charleston police.

Around 7:15 p.m. they got into Sanders' cell. Ten minutes later EMS was called. Around 7:30, EMS arrived and took Sanders to a hospital where he was pronounced dead, Hawley said.

"My office has opened a full criminal investigation," Hawley said. “My office will conduct a full, independent and vigorous investigation into the events that happened at the Mississippi County jail. We will get to the bottom of what happened there, and we will see that justice is done."

In April, the attorney general's office brought 18 criminal charges against Hutcheson, including assault, robbery and forgery.

Hawley's office asked for bond to be denied for Hutcheson  It also asked that Hutcheson not be allowed to perform law enforcement duties, but a court denied both of these requests. The Department of Public Safety has since suspended Hutcheson's license.

Hawley said the Missouri State Highway Patrol was conducting all police work regarding the case.  Investigators are still waiting for the results of an autopsy. They are also in the process of getting jail surveillance tapes.

Hawley said he has reached out to Sanders' family to assure them "justice will be done."

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