Coast coroner says inmate’s death consistent with suicide

Published 6:12 pm Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Authorities say an autopsy performed on a 39-year-old man who died in the Moss Point Jail this past weekend pointed to suicide.

Billy Ray Evans, of Helena, was found unconscious at about 5:30 a.m. on Sunday. Police said an ambulance was summoned but Jackson County Coroner Vicki Broadus pronounced Evans dead at the scene.

Just hours after the death, Broadus said the autopsy was consistent with someone taking their own life.

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Billy Ray Evans, who authorities said had prior charges with the Moss Point Police Department, was arrested at 12:30 a.m. Sunday for domestic violence against his girlfriend. He was taken to the city jail, where he later died.

Detective David Lawson said the department does routinely check on inmates during the night, but could not give specific times until the investigation is complete.

Police said Evans’ death was currently being investigated by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, and that federal authorities were asked to assist.

Officials said Evans’ son, Joseph Ray Evans, 17, died July 5 in an altercation with police in Prichard, Ala.

Before his death, Billy Ray Evans had said his son had a heart murmur as a child, and he suspected that contributed to his sudden death of heart failure. However, the family was awaiting a complete autopsy.

In an interview with The Mississippi Press earlier this month, Evans said he was dealing with his son’s death, and found the situation heartbreaking.