Suspect dies over weekend in county jail - Albuquerque Journal

Suspect dies over weekend in county jail

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

A woman accused of stabbing her boyfriend to death earlier this month died in jail over the weekend.

Michelle Morgan, 40, was arrested two weeks ago on May 1.

A Bernalillo County spokeswoman confirmed Morgan’s death but said she was unable to release her cause of death.

However, a 24-hour shift brief obtained by the Journal states that Morgan was found hanging from a sheet in her cell Friday night. She had “rigged a fake body on her bunk,” according to the brief.

Tia Bland, the county spokeswoman, said the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office is investigating and the Metropolitan Detention Center’s Office of Professional Standards is conducting an internal investigation as well.

Morgan’s relatives could not be reached by the Journal.

Her public defender, Graham Dumas, expressed his condolences to her friends and family.

“Michelle Morgan was so much more than the charges that she faced, she was a human being with rights which deserved to be respected,” Dumas told the Journal. “I did not get to know her very well, but in the little time we spent talking about her case I found a caring person in a very bad situation.”

Police say Morgan stabbed her boyfriend, Martin Miera, to death during a fight. Morgan had initially said 60-year-old Miera had stabbed her and she stabbed him back but investigators said there were inconsistencies with her story and the physical evidence at the scene did not support it.

The county does not publish information on in-custody deaths, although spokespersons will confirm when incidents occur.

According to Journal records, Morgan’s death is the second at the jail this year, following the March 6 suicide of Brian Korth. Korth, 32, was awaiting extradition to California when he killed himself.

In a little over two years, 15 people have died while in the jail’s custody – eight in 2020 and five in 2021 – according to Journal records.

Advocates and county officials raised concerns about the uptick in deaths at the jail in 2020, pointing to problems with the health care provider and understaffing.

On the night Morgan died, the brief states that the lieutenant in charge was briefed on staffing shortages and was struggling to fill positions in the unit. Eleven correctional officers were absent for that shift on top of the jail being understaffed.

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