The choking death of a suspect appears to be intentional, County Executive Jack Johnson said late Monday after a medical examiners report ruled the death as a homicide.

Ronnie L. White, 19, was found slumped over in his jail cell Sunday morning when a guard was bringing him lunch around 10:30 am. He died from asphyxiation with two broken bones in his neck. He had been arrested for killing Cpl. Richard S. Findley, 39, just about 36 hours before this.

Police claim that officers doing their rounds checking the prisoners which they do every half hour, seen White alive and sitting on his bed 15 minutes prior to finding him dead.

Vicki Duncan, a corrections officer said there are surveillance cameras watching the cell but they don’t record what goes on. She said that according to their jail logs White had no visitors and only two of the officers had access to his cell. Johnson said there were seven corrections officers that had access to the prisoner’s cell as well as numerous supervisors.

Friday morning Findley, along with Cpl. Kelvin Scruggs was watching a stolen truck when two men approached it and got in. Findley flipped his lights on and blocked the truck with his cruiser. Findley got out of his car and started walking towards the truck when suddenly the driver of the truck intentionally accelerated towards Findley running him over. Findley did fire several times at the suspects into the hood and windshield of the truck but the two men got away. The other man with White, believed to be Gerald Wright, has suffered a gunshot wound during the incident.

Was White killed in some sort of retaliation for the death of Findley? Investigators want to know. The FBI and The Maryland State Police have opened investigations.

Findley was a 10 year veteran of the county police and was also a volunteer firefighter in the county. He is survived by a wife and two young daughters.

Jan Barrett

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