A 48-year-old inmate who was a person of interest in a Reno murder was found dead Wednesday in his cell at the Churchill County Jail.
Sheriff Ben Trotter said Billey Standberry of Fallon was found hanging from the bars of his cell at about 2:30 a.m.
On Wednesday, Trotter said the cause of death would not been known until an autopsy was conducted.
Standberry was booked into the jail on Monday after Douglas County Sheriff’s deputies arrested the Fallon man in Gardnerville on March 13 on an active warrant.
On March 12, Ryan Petty, 47, of Spanish Springs was found dead by Washoe County Sheriff’s deputies at his home at 160 Mia Drive. The WCSO was notified to a possible body in the backyard by the Fallon Police Department after the FPD received a tip.
According to KRNV-TV in Reno, Petty and Standberry were former roommates. A preliminary autopsy revealed Petty’s cause of death to be a gunshot wound.
Standberry, meanwhile, was booked Monday on four felony charges and one misdemeanor charge stemming from an incident in February.
According to court records, Standberry was booked for four felonies including assault with a deadly weapon, burglary with possession of a firearm attempt to commit a robbery with a deadly weapon and an ex-felon not to possess a firearm. He was also charged with aim a firearm at a human being, a gross misdemeanor.
The ex-felon charge stemmed from a previous conviction out of the California Superior Court in Sacramento.
Standberry was accused of entering Charles Robert’s home on South Nevada Street and pointing a Ruger at Robert’s forehead and temple and demanding payment for Dorothy Lyster.
Standberry was being held in lockdown for 72-hours and had a cash-only bond of $88,500.
The lockdown period, Trotter said, is for all new inmates and allowa deputies to establish any possible risk associated with an inmate.
Trotter said Standerry’s cellmate was sleeping at the time of death, and inmates were moved from the area to avoid trauma and panic. The jail was also locked down.
The murder investigation, however, led authorities to Standberry, who was in Gardnerville, as a person of interest. According to a press release from WCSO, the two cases are unrelated.
Douglas County detectives, meanwhile, located Petty’s minivan at a supermarket on 1341 U.S. Highway in Gardnerville. It was impounded by the WCSO for processing.
Detectives believe the van was abandoned at the supermarket on Monday between 7-11 a.m., although it may have been missing since Sunday.
The individual who abandoned the van may have left the parking lot of the supermarket on a gas-powered scooter.
Anyone who saw the van or its occupant(s), or a man on a scooter around that time, is asked to contact WCSO detectives.
Detectives are also interested in any suspicious activity that may have occurred at 160 Mia Drive.
The WCSO Detectives Division encourages anyone with information on this case to contact them at 775-328-3320 or remain anonymous by calling Secret Witness at 775-322-4900, www.secretwitness.com, or text the tip to 847411 (tip 411) keyword - SW.