Inmate may have had suicidal history | NevadaAppeal.com

Inmate may have had suicidal history

Jim Scripps

Joshua Andrew Gregory, the 20-year-old jail inmate who died in apparent suicide just two days before his scheduled release, had a history of depression, a friend said Monday.

Justin Mills said he has known Gregory since he moved to Carson City from Texas about a year ago to work at the newly constructed Target store. In that period, Mills said, Gregory became increasingly self-destructive and prone to habitual drinking.

Gregory’s descent, Mills said, was highlighted by a suicide attempt about six months ago when he overdosed on pills prescribed for depression.

“He’s been living a life where he was drinking a lot with people who drank a lot,” he said. “He ended up taking a leap of faith with people he didn’t really know. I wish Josh could have realized and gotten out of that life.”

Mills, 18, said Gregory wrote in a suicide note that he “loved everybody and wished he could party one more time.”

Gregory, who turned 20 on March 21, was serving a month-long sentence for attempted theft. He was arrested Nov. 29 for burglarizing a home in the 1600 block of Brown Street.

He was given a suspended sentence of 12 to 30 months in prison, and 30 days in jail. If released, he would have been required to spend 180 days under house arrest and three years on probation.

Gregory’s body was discovered in his cell at 7:20 a.m. Saturday, according to reports from the sheriff’s department. He had a sheet tied around his neck with the other end connected to his bunk.

The suicide is the first at the since 1994 when inmate Houston Hite hanged himself in the old jail.

Chief Deputy Jerry Mather said there was no indication to jail staff that Gregory was self-destructive.

“We go through a medical and a mental health questionnaire when we admit inmates,” he said. “There is no central repository for mental health status. It all depends on what inmates tell us.”

Inmates who admit mental health issues and are seeking treatment are given access to a city-contracted physician who treats physical and mental ailments. “We have a way to treat inmates who have problems,” he said.

Mills said after the suicide attempt, Gregory was admitted to Life Stress Center in Carson City.

A spokeswoman said the clinic has a confidentiality agreement with patients that prohibits releasing personal history. Only people specified by the patient can access patient history.

Mills said his friend’s story is fairly common in Carson City. “He wasn’t a fighter, he got along with everybody,” Mills said. “It’s Carson City that killed him.”