NASHVILLE -- A coroner's inquest determined the Feb. 20 death of a Tifton man in the Nashville City Jail was a suicide, officials reported.

Berrien County Coroner Bob Lovein said the cause of death of Dexter Darrell Brown, 26, was hanging. The six people who heard and reviewed evidence in the case ruled the manner of death was suicide.

"We are required by law to have an inquest when an inmate dies in the city, county or state penal institutions," Lovein said.

Brown was found dead at about 6:30 a.m. the morning after he was arrested in a stolen vehicle. He was facing charges of theft by receiving stolen property, Nashville police said.

Police also said Brown was in a single cell by request.

Lovein said the jury heard evidence from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation coroner, GBI agents and Nashville police officers.

The inquest could not begin until the toxicology reports were ready. The six jurors were pulled from the last excused grand jury or traverse jury, which Lovein said prevents jurors from having heard evidence or from hearing evidence in an upcoming case.

Members of Brown's family told the media they did not think their son and husband committed suicide and asked the community to help them pressure authorities for answers.

Family members, interviewed March 9, said they had spoken to Brown the evening before his death and said he was acting normal. Brown told his mother he would see her on her birthday, which was on the Sunday after his Friday arrest, the family members said.

A group of 35 people gathered with Dr. James Mason, a minister and civil rights activist from Swainsboro, at Miracle Holiness Temple in Tifton on Feb. 29 for what was to be a series of meetings called "Unity in the Community."

To contact Tanya B. O'Berry, call 244-3400, ext. 239.

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