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    Alleged car jacker awaiting trial in Buncombe County dies in Raleigh prison

    By Ryley Ober, Asheville Citizen Times,

    27 days ago

    ASHEVILLE - A Buncombe County pre-trial offender being held at Central Prison in Raliegh died June 12 of an apparent suicide, according to a news release from N.C. Department of Adult Correction.

    Charles Judy, 52, of Ashbury, West Virgina, was found unresponsive in his hospital cell the afternoon of June 12. EMS responded and "prison medical staff performed lifesaving procedures," but Judy was pronounced dead shortly after 6:30 p.m., the announcement said.

    "Law enforcement and the N.C. Office of Chief Medical Examiner have been notified and are investigating, as required in these circumstances," the release said. "The Department of Adult Correction is cooperating fully and conducting its own investigation."

    Judy was awaiting adjudication on multiple charges in Buncombe County for allegedly getting into someone's vehicle, restraining him and telling him to drive after leading law enforcement on a vehicle chase through multiple towns, according to Judy's arrest warrant and police. Charges included attempted kidnapping, drug charges, and vehicle-related charges, according to the clerk's office.

    On May 18, the Black Mountain Police Department spotted a vehicle that was reported stolen out of Winston-Salem and attempted to make a traffic stop, according to a news release from the department. The suspect — later identified as Judy — led officers on a pursuit on N.C. 9 to U.S. 74A, through Gerton and Fairview. The suspect's vehicle then started driving the wrong way on Interstate 240 and crashed.

    Following the crash, Judy attempted to escape by carjacking another driver, according to police. He was then taken into custody by Black Mountain police and Buncombe County Sheriff's Office deputies. He also had an open warrant for robbery with a dangerous weapon out of Forsyth County.

    Judy had an upcoming court date in October.

    "He was a medical safe keeper being treated in the Central Prison hospital," according to spokesperson Keith Acree with N.C. DAC.

    A safekeeper is someone who requires medical or mental health treatment, poses a serious escape risk, exhibits violently aggressive behavior that warrants a higher level of supervision, needs to be protected from other inmates and the county jail facility cannot provide such protection, among other safety and security reasons, according to the N.C. Department of Public Safety.

    Central Prison receives offenders as safekeepers who may pose a security threat and those who have medical or mental health needs that cannot be met by the county jail, according to the N.C. Department of Public Safety.

    The Citizen Times attempted to reach Judy's family members.

    This story will be updated.

    Ryley Ober is the Public Safety Reporter for Asheville Citizen Times, part of the USA Today Network. Email her at and follow her on Twitter @ryleyober

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