32-year-old Alachua County inmate dies while in custody

An inmate at the Alachua County Jail died while in custody Thursday, the sheriff's office confirmed.

Marcus Goodman, a 32-year-old Gainesville resident, was pronounced just a few hours after a court hearing.

The cause of death is currently unknown. A spokesman for the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office said the Florida Department of Law Enforcement will conduct an investigation.

Goodman had been at the jail since June 2021, when the Gainesville Police Department arrested him in connection with the theft of $8,000 worth of equipment from the Jiffy Lube, at 3714 NW 13th St. He was charged with burglary and grand theft and given a bond $25,000.

The Alachua County courts found Goodman unfit to proceed with a trial after multiple psychological evaluations on multiple occasions. But Thursday, only six hours before his death, a judge found Goodman fit to stand trial.

WCJB-TV20 first reported Goodman's death. The sheriff's office has yet to make a public announcement about death on any of its social media channels. The office’s Facebook page now appears to be mostly used for the promotion of public relations efforts, events the sheriff attends and restricts people from commenting.

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Ongoing jail concerns

Goodman's death raises more questions from Alachua County officials who have continuously asked for answers about how Sheriff Clovis Watson is running the jail.

In November, the Gainesville Sun reported that Watson opted not to give all his employees the full 7% pay increases allotted by the Alachua County Commission. Instead, he chose a staggered step-pay system that paid many employees 2.5% to 4% more. That soon changed after a commission meeting where Watson said he had always intended to give the full amounts to employees.

County commissioners have voiced their frustration with the lack of responsiveness from Watson's office on issues like staffing and finances. At a November meeting, commissioners asked him for information to better understand the ongoing issues at the jail.

On Jan. 19, County Manager Michele Lieberman again asked Watson for the number of inmates, on-duty officers per shift and vacancies at the office, this time in an official letter. The sheriff's office's chief of staff, Danielle Judd, assured Liberman the next day via email that the information would be shared no later than Jan. 30.

Commissioner Anna Prizzia brought up the issue once more this week, saying she had serious concerns about the jail's staffing levels. She said that the county has yet to receive the documentation previously promised by Watson more than two months ago and that getting basic information has continued to be difficult.

"I'm hearing concerns from attorneys that are visiting our jail," she said. "And I just have a real concern for staff, visitors and inmates ... I'm not sure what to do, but I'm genuinely concerned."

This article originally appeared on The Gainesville Sun: Alachua County jail inmate dies while in law enforcement custody