Autopsy: Aortic tear killed Limestone Co. inmate

ATHENS, Ala. (AP) - Autopsy results show that a prisoner found dead in his bunk at the Limestone County Jail last month died of an aortic tear.

Limestone County Coroner Mike West said 34-year-old Jason Craig Smith of Athens died between 1 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. on Oct. 17.

Medical examiners at the forensics laboratory in Huntsville performed an autopsy and determined the cause of death.

Aortic dissection occurs when a tear develops in the inner layer of the aorta, the large blood vessel branching off the heart.

Sheriff Mike Blakely had said that Smith, who was listed as disabled on court documents, had numerous medical conditions.

Blakely had also asked the District Attorney's office to investigate the death.

Smith was arrested on a child abuse charge May 10.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) AP-NY-11-03-08 1526EST