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Tarrant County man dies after he's transported from county jail

A wide view of a red brick building with small windows, with the words TARRANT COUNTY CORRECTIONS CENTER in large font.
Rodger Mallison
Fort Worth Report
The in-custody death of a man on Feb. 14 happened at a time when the Tarrant County Sheriff's Office faces public scrutiny over its treatment of people in the jail.

A man detained in Tarrant County Jail custody for more than three years died Wednesday morning after being transported to a Fort Worth hospital.

Medical examiner records show Harold Kent Roberts, 63, was pronounced dead at John Peter Smith Hospital just before 1 a.m.

The Tarrant County Sheriff's Office did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Roberts was booked into the county jail in 2020 and charged with causing bodily injury to an elderly person.

He was found incompetent to stand trial in November 2020. After undergoing a competency restoration program, Roberts was found competent to stand trial Jan. 31 and transferred back to the prison about a week later.

Roberts' cause of death was not available as of Thursday.

His death comes at a time when the Tarrant County Sheriff's Office faces lawsuits and public scrutiny over its treatment of people in custody.

Last month, members of the public confronted Sheriff Bill Waybourn — who's running for reelection — with questions about jail deaths and allegations of medical neglect.

The county has settled lawsuits related to two separate jail deaths in 2020 due to missed wellness checks.

County officials planned to have an independent investigator reexamine the death of Robert Miller, who died in jail custody in 2019.

But the outside review never happened and the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office doubled down on its conclusion that Miller died from a sickle cell crisis despite likely never having the disease prior to his death.

Additional reporting by Miranda Suarez.

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Megan Cardona is a daily news reporter for KERA News. She was born and raised in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and previously worked at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.