By DEUCE NIVEN
A Tabor City man serving a weekend sentence jail sentence was found unresponsive in his cell early Saturday, and pronounced dead soon after, Maj. Bobby Worley of the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office said.
Jerry Dewayne Stanley, 52, of Bell Street, was pronounced dead at Columbus Regional Healthcare, where he was taken by ambulance, Columbus County Assistant Coroner William Hannah said.
An autopsy was to be conducted in Raleigh on Saturday, Hannah said.
“It looks like natural causes,” Worley said.
Stanley was admitted to the Columbus County Detention Center in Whiteville about 6:30 p.m. Friday, and told jailers then he was not feeling well, Worley said.
“They put him in a cell closer to the front so they could try to keep an eye on him,” Worley said.
Hannah said Stanley had been through heart bypass surgery at some time, but he was not sure when.
Stanley was described as a “weekender” in jail records, serving his court-ordered sentence a couple of days at a time, Worley said. Worley did not know the nature of the criminal conviction.
Stanley’s most serious criminal conviction was for arson in a February 2008 fire that gutted the home of J.C. Phipps, father of attorney Bill Phipps, who was then a law partner of R.C. Soles Jr., who was then a state senator.
Stanley’s nephew, Allen “Frog” Strickland, was also charged in that arson case. That charge was later dismissed.
Funeral services for Stanley will be held Tuesday. His obituary can be found here.
Look for more on this story in Wednesday’s Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.