ISP report on jail death under review

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A relative of the late Joshua Glaus marches on the Monroe County Courthouse grounds in late May, seeking the release of Glaus’ personal belongings.

Monroe County State’s Attorney Chris Hitzemann is reviewing a final report submitted by Illinois State Police following an investigation into the death of an inmate at the Monroe County Jail in December.

Joshua Glaus, 32, of New Athens, was found unresponsive by a corrections officer in his cell early the morning of Dec. 13. 

“Corrections officers began life-saving efforts while Monroe County EMS responded,” Monroe County Sheriff Neal Rohlfing said at the time. “Life-saving efforts were unsuccessful.”

Monroe County Coroner Bob Hill pronounced Glaus deceased at the scene.

Hill said he ruled the cause of death as asphyxiation due to hanging with manner of death being suicide.

The ISP was requested by the sheriff’s department to perform an independent death investigation, which including video surveillance, digital technology and other evidence in addition to coroner and pathologist findings.

The ISP recently submitted its final report to the Monroe County State’s Attorney’s Office.

“I did receive the reports just before we reopened the courthouse and started facing our inflated dockets because of all the cases that were continued,” Hitzemann confirmed last week. “I am in the process of reviewing the investigation.  There is quite a bit of information; the investigation was very thorough.”

Hitzemann said that anytime there is an in-custody death, the state’s attorney is requested to make a determination whether any charges should be filed. There is a three-year statute of limitations on this matter.  

“I hope to have my final review completed soon,” Hitzemann said. “From what I’ve reviewed thus far, I don’t see any basis for any criminal responsibility but I’m withholding any conclusions until the review is complete.”

On Oct. 30, 2019, Glaus was arrested by Columbia police in the McDonald’s parking lot following a domestic incident in an apartment at 230 Veterans Parkway. During his arrest, he was transported to Touchette Regional Hospital in Centreville under police watch after complaining of chest pains.

Afterward, Glaus was charged with aggravated domestic battery (strangulation) and assault and transported to the jail.

Earlier this summer, family members and friends of Glaus held signs in protest outside the courthouse requesting Hitzemann to return Glaus’ personal effects.

Hitzemann said that issue has been resolved.

“We ensured that the effects were catalogued properly for evidentiary reasons because the family hired counsel and placed a litigation hold on everything,” Hitzemann explained. “Within a couple days of receiving the request, we cleared the release of items with counsel and the items were picked up.”

This the second such in-custody death that Hitzemann’s office has had to review in recent years. 

In December 2015, 39-year-old Devin York of St. Louis was found unresponsive in his cell at the Monroe County Jail and transported to St. Anthony’s Medical Center in St. Louis County, where he was pronounced dead.

Police said York’s death appeared to be self-inflicted, but the ISP conducted a thorough investigation to confirm.

Hitzemann said he reviewed the ISP report on York’s death and “found no basis for criminal charges.”

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