Sheriff: Cobb jail inmate dies in custody after reporting heroin use

Mar. 8—An inmate of the Cobb County jail died in custody Wednesday morning, the Cobb County Sheriff's Office said.

James Martin, 41, of Mableton, was booked last Friday on methamphetamine possession and failure to maintain lane. Martin told deputies he was a heroin addict, "and had just binged the substance," according to a news release.

Wednesday morning, Martin told the jail's medical staff he was feeling unwell before having a seizure. Martin was given Narcan, a drug used to counteract an opioid overdose, but he died while en route to the hospital in an ambulance, the sheriff's office said. His time of death was reported as 9:21 a.m.

The sheriff's office said later Wednesday they had since learned Martin suffered from stage IV hepatitis C.

The office has asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to investigate the death.

Elected in 2020, Owens campaigned on a platform of increased transparency and resources for inmates after a string of inmate deaths under his predecessor, Neil Warren. Since taking office, Owens has implemented new technologies such as medical monitoring wristbands to try and curb jail deaths.

Martin is the seventh inmate to die in custody since Owens took office in 2021, and the first this year.