Another sad story of Florida law enforcement not protecting an inmate entrusted to their care. In this case, Javier Medina, a 44 year old inmate at the Polk County Jail was charged with first degree murder after his cellmate was found nearly dead. Of course Polk County Jail officials have denied any responsibility for the death of Mr. Dawes. Instead, according to law enforcement, Mr. Medina requested to be moved to another cell because he had been battered by one of his roommates. However, when authorities returned they found inmate Joseph Dawes on the bottom bunk with a sheet wrapped around his neck and the other side of the sheet wrapped around the bunk. According to Medina however, Polk County jailers set him up as the sheet was already hanging when he entered the cell. According to the Orlando Sentinel News,
After authorities interviewed him, they said Medina put his head in the toilet and tried to drown himself, and also jumped and attempted to fall on his head.
Medina was arrested Aug. 28 on Osceola County warrants for lewd and lascivious molestation, sexual battery and failure to appear.
His only other arrest came from a 2013 driving on a suspended or revoked license charge in Polk County.
Dawes was at the jail since June on a violation of probation for a previous charge of unlawful sexual activity with a minor.
Dawes had 34 previous arrests, deputies said. Medina’s charges were upgraded Friday to first-degree murder after Dawes died. T
he Polk County Sheriff’s Office will conduct an internal investigation. There also will be an independent investigation.
Last year, two Polk County inmates died, both from medical issues.