Juneau Man Held On Non-Criminal Charges, Dies In Correctional Facility

A Juneau man died at Lemon Creek Correctional Center Friday morning, about 12 hours after he was brought in. Forty-nine-year-old Joseph Murphy was booked at the prison around 7 p.m. Thursday night and was being held on non-criminal charges.

Department of Corrections spokeswoman Sherrie Daigle says Murphy was being kept in a holding cell and was due to be released after 12 hours.

“I don’t know the specifics in this case and I can’t give any specifics in this case, but in general, people are brought in on a 12-hour hold if they are intoxicated and they can’t be on the street, but are combative and can’t go to a detox center. There also could be some type of behavioral health issues that people are brought in on non-criminal holds.”

In the past, Murphy had been found guilty of at least two misdemeanors for driving while intoxicated, according to online court records.

Daigle says Alaska State Troopers are investigating the death and the state medical examiner’s office is conducting an autopsy. She says it could take three to six weeks until a cause of death is known.

Corrections will do its own investigation, which Daigle says takes up to four weeks. She says those results are confidential due to attorney client privilege between the attorney general and Corrections, and they contain medical, security and personnel information.