Wake County prisoner dies in apparent suicide

rgallagher@newsobserver.comMarch 28, 2014 

— A Wake County Detention Center prisoner died in a cell block last Saturday in what is expected to be ruled a suicide, the sheriff's office said Friday.

Max Felton Mitchell, 53, died about 11 a.m. after jumping from a second-floor balcony in a pod of cells, officials said.

Mitchell had given the officer in charge of the pod a note, apparently about his intention, then immediately went up the stairs and jumped before the officer could reach him, Chief of Operations Richard Johnson said.

Johnson said the incident Saturday was still under investigation, but was classified as a “death investigation – no crime.”

Mitchell was arrested on Feb. 17 after a pickup truck he was driving on Poole Road in Raleigh crashed head-on into a city police car. The car was in the area because officers were looking for the pickup truck in connection with a domestic violence case.

A Wake County grand jury indicted Mitchell on numerous charges stemming from the Feb. 17 incident, including felony serious injury by vehicle, two counts of assault on a police officer, communicating threats and assault on a female.

Knightdale police had previously arrested Mitchell on Jan. 22 on charges of driving while impaired and resisting and assaulting an officer.

Arrest records listed Mitchell as living on Belmont Drive in Raleigh.

Generally, prisoners in the detention center on Hammond Road have been deemed not to need closer supervision imposed in the downtown Wake County Jail and have not been accused of major felonies, Johnson said.

In a pod, prisoners are allowed out of their cells and may use a common area, Johnson said.

Mitchell had been scheduled for court appearances Monday and on April 4.

Gallagher: 919-829-4572

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