Murder suspect dies in Travis County Jail

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A man accused of beating Rickey Martinez to death with a piece of wood while he sat on a bench was found dead inside his Travis County jail cell Saturday.

Bruce Allen Thompson, 57, was found under his bunk about 1:30 a.m. EMS workers pronounced him dead a few minutes later.

The cause of death was believed to be a suicide, following an initial examination by the Medical Examiner’s office, sheriff’s detectives said. Pending official toxicology reports and a final autopsy, the Medical Examiner’s office has not released their final ruling.

Major Crimes and Internal Affairs detectives were also called to the scene during an investigation into Thompson’s death, which is procedure in these cases.

Thompson has been in the jail since his arrest on July 16, 2013 for Martinez’s murder.

Police said Thompson was looking for someone to rob when he spotted Martinez sitting on a bench at the Austin Garden Apartments at 7401 N. Lamar Boulevard. Officers then stated Thompson beat Martinez to death with a piece of wood.

Surveillance cameras caught the entire attack.

Martinez, 61, was transported to the hospital on July 15 after police received a call, originally titled as an accidental injury.

Upon arrival at University Medical Center Brackenridge, it was determined Martinez sustained trauma inconsistent with an accidental injury. The case was then reclassified as an aggravated assault.

Martinez died on July 17 and an autopsy performed by the Travis County Medical Examiner ruled his death a homicide.

Number of deaths in Travis County Jail in the past three years:

  • 2014: 1 Death in Custody, suicide.
  • 2013: 4 Deaths in Custody, 2 medical and 2 suicide.
  • 2012: 2 Deaths in Custody, both were medical.
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