February 12, 2013
Coroner Linda Virgill said yesterday it would be improper for her to discuss the circumstances surrounding the deaths of two men in police custody. Police over the weekend referred all queries regarding the deaths of Jamie 'Dodger' Smith, 33, and Aaron Rolle to Virgill. Virgill said, "All I can do is confirm that the deaths occurred and there will be an inquest." A seven-member coroner's jury will deliver an advisory verdict, which can be disregarded.
There has been no official statement clarifying why the men were in custody, how long they had been detained, and the circumstances surrounding their deaths. Police have not officially identified the men, but The Nassau Guardian understands that Smith initially told arresting officers that his name was Matthew Jacob Pratt. He died at the Central Detective Unit on Friday and Rolle died the following morning at Quakoo Street Police Station. Virgill experienced first-hand the ramifications of speaking to the press following the sudden death of Daniel Smith, the 20-year-old son of former Playboy Playmate and oil heiress the late Anna Nicole Smith.
Smith died at his mother's hospital bedside three days after she gave birth to daughter Dannie Lynn Hope. Virgill was removed by judicial officials for telling reporters that Smith's death was "suspicious" and over complaints that she had given the inquest priority over other cases. The inquest was eventually held by William Campbell. The contentious deaths of the men in custody have led Ellsworth Johnson, president of the Bahamas Human Rights Network, to call for an independent body to investigate deaths and other serious incidents involving police.
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