Wednesday, April 04, 2001

Autopsy will be today for hanged murder convict

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — An autopsy is set for today in the death of an inmate who was found hanged in the Butler County Jail, a week before he was scheduled for sentencing on a murder conviction.

        A fellow inmate found Coby Chavis, also known as Colby Chavis, 31, unresponsive in a jail cell at about 7 a.m. Tuesday. The Hamilton man was hanging from a bedsheet tied around the cell's bars. Attempts to revive him failed, said Brad Kraemer, Butler County sheriff's spokesman.

        A preliminary investigation showed Mr. Chavis was apparently alone in the cell just before he was found.

        There was no sign of foul play, Mr. Kraemer said.

        Mr. Chavis was pronounced dead at Mercy Hospital Hamilton.

        Dr. Richard Burkhardt, county coroner, will rule whether Mr. Chavis killed himself.

        Last month, a jury convicted Mr. Chavis in the Sept. 12 shooting death of Alden Little, 37, of Hamilton. As a result, Mr. Chavis faced a mandatory prison term of 15 years to life.

        Mr. Chavis also faced a June trial for felonious assault, a charge punishable by a maximum sentence of eight years. Mr. Chavis was accused of wielding a knife against a man named Rufino Garcia, according to court records.

        In a previous Butler County felonious-assault case, Mr. Chavis served about seven years in state prison and was released in September 1998, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction officials said.

        Mr. Chavis' lawyer, Greg Howard of Hamilton, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.


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