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Fla. inmate admits to drinking 12 beers hours before killing cellmate, sheriff says

Sarasota County Jail staff attempted to revive the wounded inmate, but he was pronounced dead


Zachary Ellis, 21, faces a second-degree murder charge.

Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office

By Ryan Ballogg
The Bradenton Herald

SARASOTA, Fla. — A Sarasota man is accused of killing his cellmate within hours of being booked into jail while intoxicated, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office said.

Zachary Ellis, 21, faces a second-degree murder charge.

Deputies arrested Ellis shortly after 1 a.m. Sunday after responding to a report of domestic battery. A female victim with an injury on her elbow told deputies that Ellis had pushed her down into the couch and hurt her.

Ellis at first acted as if nothing had happened, an arresting deputy said.

He later told deputies that he had drank 12 Miller Lite beers. The arresting deputy noted that Ellis was unable to say anything clearly, according to the sheriff’s office.

Ellis was charged with domestic battery and booked into the Sarasota County Jail.

At 3:39 a.m. Sunday, a corrections deputy at the jail was making rounds when he passed the cell where Ellis was held.

The deputy saw Ellis “hovering over” another inmate, an arrest report says. The inmate was lying unresponsive on the ground and covered in blood, investigators said.

The report says that Ellis was covered in blood, and his right hand was red and swollen.

The victim had face and head injuries and a laceration along his jaw line exposing bone, the sheriff’s office said.

According to a press release, staff attempted to revive the wounded inmate, but he was pronounced dead.

The sheriff’s office has not released the name or age of the victim, citing Florida’s Marsy’s Law, which protects the names of crime victims.

Deputies interviewed Ellis following the alleged attack, but the interview was fully redacted from a provided arrest report. No other details were provided Monday afternoon.

Ellis remains held without bond at the jail.


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