SIERRA VISTA — The same week a female inmate attempted suicide in the county jail, a judge confirmed a trial date in a lawsuit related to the 2015 suicide of inmate Reynaldo Amaya.

Judge Karl Elledge set Jan. 22, 2019, as the start of a four-day jury trial in a wrongful death case filed by Amaya’s mother. Sheriff Mark Dannels is named as the defendant in his capacity as the Cochise County official responsible for jail operations.

Amaya was found hanging in his cell on June 16, 2015, two days after his arrest for violation of a protective order. He had been released from prison five months earlier after serving two years for aggravated domestic violence.

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In court filings, Dannels has disputed the lawsuit’s claim that gross negligence on the part of the county contributed to Amaya’s death. He has also denied liability for the inmate’s actions.

Ramona Amaya, the inmate’s mother, rejected a settlement offer last year. She could be forced to reimburse some of Dannels’ costs if the jury finds in the sheriff’s favor.

The trial will be held at the Cochise County Superior Court in Sierra Vista, not Bisbee.


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