Accused of misdemeanor domestic battery, Richard Eckerson surrendered and was about to get out of a Miami jail on bond.
But Eckerson — while handcuffed — somehow plummeted to his death from the second story of a quad area inside the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center late last week, according to his family. Eckerson was a suicide risk and appeared to have climbed over a railing and leaped to his death, corrections authorities told relatives.
“He was getting out that day. Something is not right there,” his defense lawyer Rick Yabor said on Wednesday. “He had never claimed he wanted to commit suicide. He has no psychological issues as far as I know. This was a total shock to the family.”
The Miami-Dade Corrections department declined to comment. Miami-Dade police detectives are investigating the death — the second suspected suicide at TGK in the past two months.
Never miss a local story.
On Sept. 7, a convicted killer named Lazaro Romero died at the same West Miami-Dade jail in a suspected suicide. His case is also still under investigation.
Romero had just been convicted of murdering a former friend over the ownership of prized racing pigeons. He had yet to be sentenced.
As for Eckerson, the 48-year-old landscaper was charged with battering his wife and son. His attorney said the two did not want to press charges, and he expected Eckerson to get the charges dismissed.
He was booked into TGK on Thursday and was granted a $3,000 bond on each count. He was also supposed to wear an ankle monitor. His relatives got a call on Saturday morning to say that Eckerson was dead.
The Miami-Dade Medical Examiner has yet to rule on a cause and manner of death.