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News Story
Updated: 02/09/2012 08:01:51AM

Man dies in Central Jail

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Anthony McKnight

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The death of a man who died of what may be a heart attack in the Central County Jail Friday is under investigation.

Anthony Dale McKnight, 40, of Haines City, was pronounced dead at Bartow Regional Medical Center at 8:09 a.m., less than three hours after a fist fight he had in the jail, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office reports.

At about 5:45 a.m. Friday, Feb. 3, McKnight was making a scene in the jail, by hollering, banging on tables and loudly expressing frustration over his incarceration. During the tantrum, inmate Joe Bean yelled at McKnight to calm down, according to the report. Bean approached McKnight, and the two inmates yelled at each other, the sheriff’s office reports. The fight turned physical and McKnight threw Bean to the ground, got on top of him, and punched him repeatedly about the head and face, the sheriff’s office said.

Detention deputies broke up the fight within a matter of minutes, the report said. Both inmates signed waivers refusing to press charges against each other.

Bean suffered several lacerations to his face, and McKnight had an abrasion on the knuckles of one hand. Inmate medical staff examined both inmates and treated their injuries, according to the PCSO report. McKnight was returned to the dorm.

Shortly after his return to the dorm, McKnight complained to other inmates and a detention deputy of feeling numbness in his left arm, sweating and chest pains. He was taken to the jail infirmary, and was responsive and talking, telling one of the trustee inmates that he was feeling better.

Within minutes of arriving at the infirmary, however, he collapsed and became unresponsive and stopped breathing, the sheriff’s office reports.

Jail staff performed CPR on McKnight until EMS arrived and continued life-saving measures while transporting him to Bartow Regional Medical Center.

Doctors at the hospital pronounced McKnight deceased at 8:09 a.m.

Preliminarily it appeared McKnight suffered a fatal heart attack. An autopsy revealed McKnight had an enlarged heart which was nearly twice the size of a normal adult, and 95 percent blockage in the left descending coronary artery.

The cause of death is consistent with heart attack; however, the final ruling will not be determined until toxicology reports are completed.

McKnight was arrested by the Haines City Police Department on Tuesday, Jan. 31, for battery domestic violence, possession of marijuana, possession of illegal anabolic steroids, and possession of paraphernalia.

A police affidavit shows McKnight yelled at, cursed at, and battered his wife in front of their children, on Jan. 30 and again the next morning. His wife suffered several bruises, which were seen and documented by Haines City Police officers, who arrived on-scene after McKnight’s wife reported the battery.

His wife told the officers McKnight has gone to her place of employment and made threats to kill her coworkers, and to kill her if he catches her cheating on him, according to the report. She said McKnight injects steroids and uses other drugs, and that she and their four children are very afraid of him.

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