VALDOSTA -- An inmate at Valdosta State Prison found dead in his cell over the weekend likely died of natural causes, officials said Monday.

LaShawn Tolbert, 31, who was serving a 10-year sentence for a cocaine distribution conviction in Decatur County, was found dead at 9:20 p.m. Sunday. The body was sent to the state crime lab in Moultrie for an autopsy, and the case is being investigated by the GBI's Thomasville office.

Lowndes County Coroner Charles Exum said the autopsy revealed an enlarged heart, but noted the medical examiner was performing additional tests to determine if that condition was the cause of death. The test takes 10 days, at which point an official ruling will be given.

Exum and officials with the Georgia Department of Corrections said there were no preliminary indications of foul play.

Tolbert had been serving time at the prison since June 2002 and was tentatively scheduled for parole in 2005, according to the Department of Corrections' inmate database.

He had previously served five months of a five-year sentence on an identical charge in 1998 and 1999.



To contact reporter Bill Roberts, please call 244-3400, ext. 245.



React to this story:

0
0
0
0
0

Trending Video

Recommended for you