The death of an inmate who was strangled at the Cannon Detention Center will be listed as a homicide even though state police have charged another inmate with assisted suicide, the Charleston County coroner said.
Coroner Rae Wooten told The Post and Courier that she intends to rule the death of Matthew Lee Glidden a homicide.
Two weeks ago State Law Enforcement Division agents charged Michael Robert Bixby, 30, with assisted suicide in Glidden's death. It remains unclear what led investigators to conclude that Glidden wanted to die in that manner.
Glidden, 29, of Ladson was found dead in his cell about 6:45 a.m. March 24 while officers prepared the other inmates in his unit for breakfast.
It also was unclear how authorities determined Bixby was being truthful when he told investigators Glidden had asked for his help carrying out a suicide.
When asked if Glidden left behind a note or any other evidence that would indicate a suicide, SLED spokesman Thom Berry said that the agency's "investigation into the matter is still open and ongoing. As such, it would be inappropriate to discuss specifics of the case."
Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said that her office consulted with investigators and agreed with their conclusion. Citing ethics rules, Wilson declined to comment further on what evidence was presented to support the charge.
Bixby was being held at the jail pending trial on federal child pornography and sexual exploitation charges when Glidden was killed, court records show.
He could face up to 15 years in prison or a $100,000 fine if convicted on the felony assisted suicide charge. His attorney, a public defender, did not return a phone call from The Post and Courier.
Glidden's death was the first reported case of assisted suicide at the jail, according to sheriff's deputies.
Glidden was being held at the jail on charges of criminal sexual conduct with a minor and two counts of lewd act on a child, sheriff's deputies said. His family did not return a phone call from the Post and Courier seeking comment.
Reach Christina Elmore at 937-5908 or at Twitter.com/celmorePC.