An inmate at the Churchill County Jail was found dead at about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to Sheriff Ben Trotter.
Billey Standberry, 48, of Fallon was discovered by jail deputies hanging from the bars of his cell, although the cause of death is unknown. The cause of death will be released after the completion of an autopsy, Trotter said.
Standberry was booked into the jail Monday on numerous charges and was also a person of interest in the suspected murder of Spanish Springs resident Ryan Petty, 47, at his home at 160 Mia Drive. Petty was found dead March 12 in his Reno residence by Washoe County Sheriff deputies after Fallon police received a tip from a caller, according to a WCSO press release.
A preliminary autopsy revealed the cause of death was a gunshot wound.
An investigation led authorities to Standberry, who was in Gardnerville, as a person of interest. According to the press release, the two cases are unrelated.
Douglas County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Standberry on March 13 on an active warrant from Justice Court in Fallon.
The lockdown period, Trotter said, is for all new inmates to allow deputies to establish any possible risk associated with an inmate. Standberry was being held in lockdown for 72-hours and had a cash-only bond of $88,500.
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.
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.
Standberry was accused of entering Charles Robert’s home on South Nevada Street and pointing a Ruger Robert’s forehead and temple and demanding payment for Dorothy Lyster.
The ex-felon charge stemmed from a previous conviction out of the California Superior Court in Sacramento.
Douglas County detectives, meanwhile, located Petty’s mini-van 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 urged to contact Washoe County 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.