A Tulsa man charged with murder for the shotgun death of a woman outside an eastside QuikTrip earlier this year died over the weekend in the Tulsa Jail.
Ty Austin Rutledge, 23, had been in the jail since his arrest on Jan. 15. He allegedly shot and killed 32-year-old Ashley Tobey outside a QuikTrip near 31st Street and U.S. 169 on Jan. 15.
Rutledge is the first inmate death to occur inside the jail in 2018, Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office officials said Monday.
According to a “Jail Incident Report,” Rutledge was found by a detention officer lying “face down on the floor with blood on the floor.” The report twice lists the wrong date Rutledge was found, first saying May 15, then saying May 18. Jail officials confirmed Rutledge was found unresponsive about 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 19.
“He also had a towel tied tight around his neck,” the report states.
It says two detention officers removed the towel and “more blood came out of his mouth.”
Rutledge was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to court records, Rutledge was due for his preliminary hearing on Monday.
The incident report does not list Rutledge’s death as a suicide, despite the presence of the towel wrapped around his neck. Casey Roebuck, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, said on Monday that “while evidence points to a suicide, we are waiting (on) the (Medical Examiner’s) report to classify the manner of death.”
Rutledge has several criminal convictions stretching back to 2014 for assault, drug and property theft crimes.
At least six people have died in the Tulsa Jail since 2016, although records are inexact.
Thomas Willingham III died in the jail last February. Willingham, 48, began vomiting while in the Tulsa Jail on Feb. 2, according to a report filed by the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office with the Oklahoma State Health Department.
At least four people died in the jail in 2016.
- Nathan Daniel Bradshaw, 32, was found unresponsive in his cell March 12, 2016.
- Leo Dale Horn, 58, died June 11, 2016, after being found unresponsive in his segregation cell.
- Mitchell Godsey, 59, died Aug. 1, 2016.
- Caitlyn Lewis, 30, died by a “self-inflicted” manner in her cell Oct. 5, 2016.
Another inmate recently died, though his death occurred outside of the facility. Christopher Amann, 27, died May 13, according to an obituary notice. Roebuck said Amann, who was in jail after being arrested for being a felon in possession of a firearm, was “transported for the booking area of the jail to a local hospital by ambulance for a medical emergency” on May 12.
“He was released from our custody through a (personal recognizance bond) after that,” Roebuck wrote in an email. “We wouldn’t have information regarding his death if it occurred after his release.”
Roebuck would not release the bond paperwork, saying it was not a record that fell under the state’s Open Records law. An employee at the Tulsa County Court Clerk’s office confirmed Amann was released on a recognizance bond May 13, the same day he died.
In the past, the Tulsa Jail has released inmates from custody if it appears they will need costly medical care, sparing the jail and taxpayers from expensive hospital bills.
Amann was actually charged with possession of a firearm after former conviction of a felony on May 18, five days after his death. Sally Van Schenck, a spokeswoman for the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office, said that the office had not been notified of Amann’s death at the time the charge was filed.
Van Schenck said Amann had been left with the sheriff’s office by the arresting officer, who, unaware Amann had died, then forwarded the criminal report to the DA’s office on May 15.
The DA’s office then charged Amann three days later.
Court records show Amann was convicted in Muskogee County in 2010 of rape by instrumentation. Oklahoma Department of Corrections records show he spent less than three years in prison for that conviction.