Coroner’s Inquest jury determines Antioch man’s in-custody death was by natural causes

By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff

Sheriff-Coroner David O. Livingston announces that a Coroner’s Jury has reached a finding in the March 7, 2019 death of 65-year-old Leartis Johnson of Antioch at the Martinez Detention Facility. The finding of the jury is that the death is natural causes. (See related article)

The Coroner’s Jury reached the 12-0 verdict after hearing the testimony of witnesses called by the hearing officer, Matthew Guichard.

Johnson was originally booked into the MDF on May 16, 2018 by the BART police. His original charges included attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and robbery.

A Coroner’s Inquest, which Sheriff-Coroner Livingston convenes in all fatal incidents involving police officers, is a public hearing, during which a jury rules on the manner of a person’s death. Jury members can choose from the following four options when making their finding: accident, suicide, natural causes or at the hands of another person, other than by accident.

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