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Obion County Grand Jury Declines To Indict Sheriff’s Office, Union City Police Department In Death

Obion County Sheriff's Department

An Obion County grand jury on Tuesday declined to indict staff from the Obion County Sheriff’s Office and the Union City Police Department involving the death of an inmate in March.

37-year-old Sterling Higgins was in police custody when he allegedly assaulted staff members at the county jail. He was subdued and later pronounced dead at a local hospital.

District Attorney Tommy Thomas presented the case to the grand jury. Thomas said he asked the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to look into the case. After that investigation, he concluded the case was not strong enough to continue.

“It was my determination that there should be no criminal charges,” Thomas said. “I advised the family of that, but I said it’s the policy of this office that if someone dies in police custody, I wanted the TBI to investigate.”

Thomas went on to say Higgins had a large amount of methamphetamine in his system when the incident occurred. He said the pathologist report indicated Higgins went into “excited delirium,” contributing to his behavior and death. 

Although no criminal charges were brought in the case, civil action is still possible.  

Dalton York is a Morning Edition host and reporter for WKYU in Bowling Green. He is a graduate of Murray State University, where he majored in History with a minor in Nonprofit Leadership Studies. While attending Murray State, he worked as a student reporter at WKMS. A native of Marshall County, he is a proud product of his tight-knit community.
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