Corrections officials said Raymond Stallings, 41, was found outside his cell at 3:30 a.m. He was transported to Union County General Hospital and then to University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque where he was pronounced dead shortly after 11 a.m., Rosie Sais, the public affairs coordinator for the New Mexico Corrections Department, said in a news release.
The cause of death is currently under investigation but Stallings appeared to have committed suicide, she said.
Stallings was not on suicide watch at the time of the incident because he had not shown signs of suicidal behavior prior to his death, she said.
While he was incarcerated in San Juan County, Stallings was, at times, kept in a special cell for inmates who were on suicide watch.
Stallings was convicted in September 2011 of four felonies including third-degree felony assault and aggravated battery against a household member for a Sept. 5, 2009 incident when he lit his nephew, Troy Stallings, on fire. Troy had burns covering 28 percent of his body.
A jury found Raymond Stallings not guilty of attempted murder in the case.
He was serving a 10 1⁄2 year prison sentence.
Prior to being transferred to the detention facility in Clayton, Stallings was an inmate at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center from Sept. 5, 2009 until Dec. 23, 2011.
During that time, he was generally housed in the medical unit, including some times when he was in a specific cell for inmates on suicide watch, San Juan County Deputy Attorney Doug Echols said in an email.
Gary Stallings, Raymond’s brother and the father of Troy Stallings, said Raymond Stallings tried to kill himself while incarcerated at the county detention facility and was on suicide watch there.
The county could not confirm that because medical records are private.
“It’s on record he’s suicidal and he should have been watched,” Gary Stallings said.
While Stallings was awaiting trial his mental competency was raised and he was transferred to the New Mexico Behavioral Health Department Institute in Las Vegas where he was evaluated by psychotherapists.
According to court documents, Stallings was diagnosed with mental health issues and was treated with medication.
More specific records that may describe his mental health state were sealed.
Northeast New Mexico Detention Facility is one of four privately-operated prisons in the state. It is a medium-security prison for males and has a capacity for 625 inmates.
Sais said employees of the detention facility immediately responded to Stallings when he was found and tried to revive him until medical units arrived.
She said the corrections department will review the circumstances of Stallings’ death and the Clayton Police Department will also investigate the death.