Suicide, murder shake up Arapahoe County jail

Two inmates die on same day

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Two Arapahoe County jail inmates died on Oct. 3 — one by suicide, the other apparently by murder.

On the afternoon of Oct. 1, 46-year-old Tyler Hawkins was found hanging from a noose, apparently fashioned from a towel, in the shower area of the inpatient medical housing unit, according to an Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office news release. Deputies immediately removed the towel and, along with medical personnel, began efforts to revive him. Hawkins was transported to a local hospital.

The next day, an assault occurred that ended the life of inmate Michael Roy Craven Jr, 43. Fellow inmate Eric Stewart, also 43, stands accused of killing him.

“The assault began in a cell on the upper tier of a housing unit and quickly spilled out onto the upper walkway,” the sheriff's office news release stated. “The assault lasted approximately 45 seconds and was over before deputies were able to intervene.”

Deputies and medical staff provided emergency medical assistance, and Craven was transported to a local hospital.

The sheriff's office determined that no weapons were involved in the assault.

The two men had been in the same housing unit since December 2014 and have had no known previous issues, the sheriff's office said. There were approximately 38 other inmates present in the housing unit at the time of the assault.

Inmates are assigned to housing units based on an objective classification system that includes many variables, such as current charge, previous criminal history and disciplinary concerns.

Craven had been at the jail since August 2014. He was being held on a multitude of charges, including second-degree assault with a deadly weapon, first-degree criminal trespass, stalking, extortion and criminal mischief. He was sentenced as a habitual criminal.

Stewart has been at the detention facility since December 2014 and was awaiting trial on several charges, including attempted first-degree murder, menacing, third-degree assault and possession of a weapon by a previous offender. He remains in custody and is now being held on the additional charge of first-degree murder.

Craven was pronounced dead at 5:07 a.m. on Oct. 3. Hawkins, who never improved, lived nearly 10 hours longer and was pronounced dead at 3:42 p.m.

Hawkins had been housed at the Arapahoe County Detention Facility since Sept. 24, when he was arrested on allegations of first-degree assault. He had a $50,000 bond, but it had not been posted.

The ongoing investigations into both deaths are being conducted by the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office and the Arapahoe County Coroner's Office.

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