The Cecil County man recently arrested in connection with a string of local convenience store robberies was found unresponsive in his cell at the Harford County Detention Center on Thanksgiving night and died a short time later, police said.
Michael R. Malpass, 26, of Charlestown was arrested Nov. 17 for the robbery of several stores across three counties. He had been held without bond at the detention center since Nov. 18 on charges of armed robbery, first- and second-degree assault, and failure to appear.
His death is not being investigated as a suicide, according to Harford County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Monica Worrell.
While on routine rounds of the detention center at approximately 10:55 p.m. Thursday, corrections officers found Malpass unresponsive in his cell, according to Worrell. The corrections officers began life-saving procedures and Malpass was transported by the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company to Upper Chesapeake Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 12:08 a.m. Friday, Worrell said.
Malpass had been housed in one of the facility’s direct supervision units, Worrell said, and was locked down in a cell by himself on a 15-minute watch due to medical issues related to detox from intravenous use of heroin.
Malpass was arrested for the armed robbery of the Maryland House Travel Plaza Exxon station on Nov. 9; the Nov. 11 robbery of the Shell gas station on Middleton Road in Aberdeen; the Nov. 13 robbery of the Royal Farms store on Route 40 in Perryville; the Nov. 14 robbery of a 7-11 store on Belair Road in Overlea, and the Nov. 15 robbery of Rite-Aid Pharmacy in Havre de Grace.
The death comes amid a change in leadership at the detention center, with Sheriff Jesse Bane announcing Nov. 16 that Warden Elwood DeHaven would retire effective Dec. 2, and would not be replaced. Maj. Michael Capasso is set to take over the warden’s duties.
Malpass is at least the fourth inmate to die while incarcerated at the detention center in the last four years. Forest Hill resident Jeffrey Lawson, committed suicide in August 2010 while awaiting trial for the robbery of a Forest Hill bank. Lawson was found hanging by a bed sheet in his cell, and died several days later after his family decided to end life support measures.
In June 2009, a detention center inmate died after being TASERed by a corrections officer. The death of an inmate in September 2008 was ruled accidental by authorities.