Jail inmate dies in cell

Mar. 18, 2013 @ 06:49 PM

A man awaiting trial for firing into an occupied hotel room in February was found dead in his cell at the Durham County Detention Center last Thursday.

Terry Demetrius Lee, 21 of Herbert Street, Durham, was found unconscious in his cell about 2:20 p.m. Thursday. Detention staff performed CPR until emergency medical personnel arrived, and paramedics attempted to revive Lee for an extended period of time. Their efforts were unsuccessful, according to the Durham County Sheriff’s Office, which runs the detention center. Lee was pronounced dead at the scene.

Lee was in a cell by himself, said Paul Sherwin, public information officer for the Durham County Sheriff’s Office.

“They just called to talk to him on the intercom and they got no response,” Sherwin said about how officials were alerted that something might be wrong. “They got no answer so they went up and found him.”

Sherwin declined to say if there was any apparent cause of death, saying the death is under investigation and Lee’s body was transported to the state medical examiner’s office.

Lee was arrested early Wednesday morning. The warrants for his arrest stated there was probable cause to believe that on Feb. 6, Lee discharged a .22-caliber pistol into a hotel room #214 at 2101 Holloway St., the address of the Budget Inn. A woman was in the room.

On Wednesday, Durham police charged Lee with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, discharging a weapon into an occupied building, possession of a firearm by a felon and discharging a firearm within the city limits.

“My thoughts are with the Lee family, and I’m very sorry for their loss,” Sheriff Mike Andrews said. “My office is conducting an investigation surrounding Mr. Lee’s death and we have notified the SBI, which is standard procedure.”

Jail records indicate there was a federal detainer on Lee. Federal records indicate Lee was indicted for an armed robbery but pleaded guilty to felon in possession of a firearm in November 2010. He was sentenced to 37 months and placed on supervised release with strict conditions for three years.

Among the conditions was to not possess a firearm and not to commit another local, state or federal crime.