The Texas Rangers are investigating the death of a 37-year-old woman who died Monday night after she was shocked with an electric stun gun while deputies tried to take her into custody earlier in the day.
Justice of the Peace Walter H. “Pete” Peterson said he declared Iretha Lilly deceased at 10:14 p.m. Monday at Providence Health Center after she was taken there from the McLennan County Jail.
Lilly was jailed Monday morning for testing positive for multiple drugs during sentencing for a shoplifting charge.
Lilly’s attorney, Paula Allen, said Lilly became unruly during the proceeding at the McLennan County Courthouse, after 19th District Court Judge Ralph Strother decided she was a flight risk after failing a second drug test, prompting three deputies to subdue her using a Taser. Strother ordered Lilly to serve 100 days at the county jail as part of her conditions for deferred adjudication.
Allen requested the jail time be delayed because of Lilly’s children, but when Lilly tested positive for methamphetamine, amphetamine and marijuana on a court-ordered drug test Tuesday, Strother said he didn’t think Lilly would return for another hearing and ordered her transferred to the jail.
Lilly had formerly tested positive for marijuana during her pre-sentencing investigation process.
“After all this happened, they took her down the hall and she was still screaming,” Strother said.
Chief McLennan County Sheriff’s Deputy Matt Cawthon said only one Taser was involved, though multiple deputies were present and assisting in subduing her. He did not know how many times Lilly was shocked.
Lilly reportedly was taken to the jail and booked in, but she did not have another mug shot taken because she was “uncooperative” with deputies. Cawthon said it isn’t unusual to postpone part of the booking process until an inmate has calmed down.
Lilly complained of chest pains while in a cell by herself about 6 p.m., and medical staff performed an EKG on her, Cawthon said. She reportedly was monitored every 15 minutes until she was found unresponsive just after 7 p.m.
Lilly then was taken to Providence by ambulance, where she was pronounced dead.
Sheriff Parnell McNamara declined to release anything about what was found in the medical exam or EKG, citing HIPAA laws, which protect individually identifiable health information.
“It’s an unfortunate thing, and we’ve called in the (Texas) Rangers to investigate. We’re assisting them,” McNamara said.
He added he does not think any deputies involved in Lilly’s arrest or booking acted outside of protocol, and he said no officers have been placed on administrative leave pending the Rangers’ investigation.
Peterson said he requested an autopsy to discover the cause of death.