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East Helena man dies in county jail
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East Helena man dies in county jail

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A detention officer walks past holding cells near the booking area of the Lewis and Clark County Detention Center. (copy)

A detention officer walks past holding cells near the booking area of the Lewis and Clark County Detention Center in this file photo from 2017. 

A 25-year-old East Helena man died in the custody of the Lewis and Clark County Detention Center in Helena Saturday, according to authorities.

The man has been identified as Benjamin "Jammer" Halverson. Sheriff/Coroner Leo Dutton said Halverson was found unresponsive in his cell around 11:09 a.m. Saturday by a detention officer.

Dutton said live-saving measures were initiated but were unsuccessful. Halverson was later pronounced dead at the scene.

Dutton said an autopsy was performed by the State of Montana pathologist in the Missoula Crime Lab. The cause of death was determined to be asphyxia due to hanging and the manner of death was ruled a suicide. According to Dutton, the next of kin was notified.

According to Dutton, he has asked the Montana Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation to conduct an investigation into the death. Dutton said he has also requested an independent coroner, Jessie Billquist-Jette of Anaconda-Deer Lodge County, to preside over the death investigation.

"Our condolences to the family and to the Lewis and Clark County Detention Center staff who work tirelessly for this not to be the outcome," Dutton said.

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