Historic City News received a report from Fire Rescue Captain Jeremy Robshaw that emergency medical personnel responded to the St Johns County Detention Facility yesterday to discover a 39-year-old inmate dead at the scene.
The inmate, James Daniel Pillen who lived at 36 Saragossa Street, Apt B, in Saint Augustine, was not on suicide watch and had not shown signs of wanting to harm himself according to a statement attributed to sheriff’s spokesman, Commander Chuck Mulligan.
Sergeant Bonnie Jimmerson, Records Supervisor, told Historic City News that the jail notified Fire Rescue of the incident at 5:07 a.m. yesterday morning. Robshaw said help arrived at 5:12 a.m., but it was already too late.
According to Mulligan’s statements, Pillen was returning to his cell from breakfast when the incident occurred. Mulligan says Pillen was climbing the stairs and when he reached the top, instead of continuing onto the landing, he climbed over the railing, climbed to the top of a chain-link fence that extends from the balcony railing to the ceiling, and jumped.
The St Augustine Police Department reported that they arrested the inmate on August 23rd on warrants charging him with burglary, where there has been an assault or battery, and tampering with a witness by preventing them to communicate with law enforcement. Each crime is a first-degree felony, punishable by life in prison.
Pillen was being held for the incidents that occurred on August 22nd in lieu of $500,000 bond. The inmate has a lengthy arrest history and court file including domestic violence.
Jimmerson told local reporters that the circumstances surrounding Pillen’s death are still under investigation.