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Prison inmate dies by suicide, coroner rules

Updated January 31, 2023 - 9:36 am

The Clark County coroner’s office ruled Tuesday that an inmate at High Desert State Prison died by suicide.

James Chavez, 47, was pronounced dead at 9:39 p.m. on Jan. 18 in the prison infirmary, according to the coroner’s office.

In a press release last week, the Nevada Department of Corrections said Chavez came to the prison in 2007 from Washoe County.

He was sentenced to 80 years to life with parole for four counts of sexual assault of a person under 16, prison records show.

On the same day prison officials announced Chavez’s death, they also released a statement about the death of Pedro Garcia, which happened on Jan. 15.

Garcia, 40, of Las Vegas, was imprisoned at Southern Desert Correctional Center. He died at Centennial Hills Hospital around 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 15, but the coroner’s office had not determined his cause of death as of Tuesday.

Garcia was sentenced in 2018 to life with the possibility of parole for second-degree murder. Prosecutors considered capital punishment after Garcia, a five-time felon at the time, shot a Starbucks customer in 2016.

He had been released from prison 11 months before the fatal shooting.

If you’re thinking about suicide, or are worried about a friend or loved one, help is available 24/7 by calling or texting the Lifeline network at 988. Live chat is available at 988lifeline.org.

Contact Sabrina Schnur at sschnur@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0278. Follow @sabrina_schnur on Twitter.

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