Leader Blues

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

TOP STORY >> Prisoner dies after injury

By JOHN HOFHEIMER
Leader senior staff writer

The State Police investigation into the circumstances of a major head injury received by an inmate at the Lonoke County Jail last week turned into a homicide investigation with the death of that man Sunday, according to a State Police spokesman Bill Sadler.

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences notified the Lonoke County Sheriff’s Office at 12:23 a.m. Sunday that Jerry Dale Luker, 39, died at the hospital, according to a sheriff’s office spokesman.

Sadler said when the investigation is concluded, the file will be turned over to the Lonoke County Prosecutors’ Office.

“We were hoping Mr. Luker would recover from his injuries,” Sheriff Jim Roberson said. “The sheriff’s office will continue to fully assist the Arkansas State Police investigators with the investigation and prosecution of those responsible.”

Luker was in the Lonoke County Jail awaiting transfer to the Arkansas Department of Correction to serve a 36-month sentence for fraudulent use of a credit card and felony probation violations, according to the sheriff’s office.

While in custody, Luker received a head injury in the cellblock’s restroom, according to the report. He was scheduled to soon be transferred to the correction department.

Officals would not comment on possible suspects and declined to say whether or not jail guards or inmates may have been involved in Luker’s death.