PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Commonwealth's Attorney Stephanie Morales has requested a special grand jury be appointed for the Jamycheal Mitchell case.
A motion was filed with the Portsmouth Circuit Court on Wednesday, according to a release from the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office.
Mitchell, a mentally ill man, was 24-years-old when he died in a jail cell at the Hampton Roads Regional Jail on August 19, 2015. Family members claim Mitchell literally withered away for four months, eventually dying of wasting syndrome.
Mitchell was arrested in April 2015 for stealing $5 in food from a Portsmouth convenience store, and was awaiting a bed at a mental health hospital thanks to an order from a judge.
However, after Mitchell's death, an investigation by a state health agency discovered that order never made it into the right hands. Instead, investigators discovered the order sat in a file drawer for weeks, and was only rediscovered five days after Mitchell died.
VSP investigators were brought in to see if any criminal charges should be filed in Mitchell's death. In March, additional allegations were made about Mitchell's death, according to the Commonwealth's Attorney. It's not clear what the allegations are.
In a statement over the phone, Mark Krudys, an attorney for the Mitchell family, said the family is "encouraged" by Wednesday's announcement.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed a bill into law on Wednesday morning that he hopes will prevent similar case from happening. The law gives power to the State Dept. of Corrections to investigate deaths at jails. "[Mitchell's death] is totally unacceptable. We will not accept that in the Commonwealth," he said during a signing ceremony. "It demanded action on our part to make sure that this never happens again."
HRRJ Superintendent Ronaldo Myers released the following statement: "We welcome any and as many investigations or inquiries as the appropriate federal, state and local authorities deem necessary. We will continue to provide our unfettered cooperation to all law enforcement authorities, as we continue to remain vigilant and as we continually work tirelessly to get better."