Feds probe death of inmate at Lucas County jail

Reported by Lisa Rantala email
Posted by Kate Oatis email

TOLEDO (WTOL) - A federal investigation targeting the Lucas County sheriff's office over the death of an inmate is heating up. Today, News 11 received files the sheriff's own criminal investigators conducted four years after the incident.

The files indicate a woman who works at the jail came forward this year saying Carlton Benton's death was murder. She also told investigators she was threatened with the loss of her job if she reported the incident.

Toledo police had arrested 25-year-old Benton four years ago for a double murder. But only five months into custody at the Lucas County jail, Benton died at the hands, the woman alleges, of her own co-workers.

The criminal notes News 11 obtained from the sheriff's office indicate the employee said Benton was naked, handcuffed and hog-tied. The notes indicate the deputies picked him up and slammed him into the wall and bars and also in the elevator.

The woman also claims deputies stomped, kicked, punched and smothered Benton, killing him. She says he was left unresponsive and died later at the hospital.

The day following the alleged attack, the employee told investigators she received a message from those involved, telling her to keep her mouth shut.

An internal investigation at the time indicated the officers involved were told to write up the incident but to only discuss Benton's aggression that took place during a hospital visit before the alleged confrontation in his cell.

The coroner told investigators that if she had known of that confrontation, the cause of Benton's death would likely have been ruled undetermined instead of due to complications of a seizure that's now on record.

Despite what has come to light, the coroner still says there were no signs of trauma around Benton's neck and that his death cannot be ruled a homicide.

The investigation concluded with no charges against any of the deputies. News 11 has tried to talk to the sheriff regarding this matter. He has not returned calls.