The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation has been called in to investigate the death of a 56-year-old Lowndes County native found unresponsive in his Lowndes County Jail cell Thursday morning.
Johnny James Payne, of 3579 Jess Lyons Road, would have celebrated his 57th birthday Sept. 19.
He’d been arrested Sept. 2 at about 1 a.m. on Blaylock Road for possession of methamphetamine and just had a bond hearing Thursday before he was found in his cell at about 11 a.m., according to Sheriff Mike Allege and Coroner Greg Merchant.
He was rushed to Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle where he was pronounced dead.
The recent meth arrest was the second in a year for Payne, who was a self-employed mechanic who fathered six children and had no prior arrest record or drug history until recent years, according to Lowndes County Circuit Court records.
He was arrested on Nov. 29, 2017, on Adkins Road in Lowndes County for possession of less than two grams of the highly addictive drug. He was indicted earlier this year and, because of his lack of a criminal record, prosecutors agreed to put him on pre-trial diversion for up to three years, according to court records.
In the pre-sentence report filed with his pre-trial diversion agreement, he said he used meth daily.
He accepted that agreement on Aug. 21 and first reported to his diversion counselor on Aug. 27.