A repeat offender died from injuries Monday after jumping from a second story mezzanine at Rowan County Detention Center on Sunday, Capt. John Sifford with the Rowan County Sheriffs Office said.
Richard James Cooley, 48, of Woodleaf, appeared in Superior Court on Friday on charges of possession of firearm by felon, DWI, and two counts of failure to appear in court for felony probation violation.
Cooley pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to 13 to 25 months for possession of a firearm by a felon, 120 days for the DWI charge and 5 to 6 months for each count of failure to appear.
The sentences were to run concurrently.
Cooley was taken by bailiffs to the Rowan County Detention Center after court, Sifford said.
But around 1:30 p.m. during his hour of recreation time on Sunday in his inmate pod, Cooley jumped headfirst from the second floor of the Rowan County Detention Center to the first floor, officials said.
Video surveillance shows Cooley standing at the second-floor balcony for about four minutes before getting a running start and jumping, Sifford said.
Its evident that no one else was around. No one assisted him in any way, Sifford said.
Cooley fell about 12 feet and appeared to land headfirst on the floor, near where a detention officer was stationed to monitor inmate activity.
Detention staff began to administer aide to Cooley, and the detention nurse was on scene within three minutes, officials said.
Cooley was taken to Rowan Regional Medical Center for treatment, and was later transported to Baptist Hospital where he was admitted as a patient.
Cooley died shortly before 12:30 p.m. Monday.
According to arrest records, Cooley has a lengthy criminal history that most recently includes possession of a firearm by a felon.
Arriero: 704-804-2637 Twitter: @earriero
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