CLEARWATER — Pinellas County Sheriff’s detectives charged an inmate at the county jail with second degree murder in connection with the death of another inmate.
According to detectives, inmate Julio Vega, 54, and inmate Jamar Johnson, 20, had an altercation June 13 in the maximum security section of the Pinellas County Jail during which Vega fell and hit his head. Vega initially claimed that he fell by accident and denied that he had been assaulted by Johnson or anyone else. Vega did not appear seriously injured as a result of his fall.
Detectives said Vega had other medical conditions for which he was being treated that were unrelated to the fall; however, his medical condition deteriorated and he was transported to the hospital on July 14. Vega remained in the hospital’s care until he was pronounced dead on July 17.
The District Six Medical Examiner’s Office performed an autopsy and determined the cause of death to be complications of blunt head trauma from the June 13 incident and the manner of death was determined to be homicide.
Detectives conducted an investigation over the past several months and determined that Vega did not fall by accident. They say Johnson struck Vega and caused his fall. Detectives charged Johnson with second degree murder.
Johnson has been in the Pinellas County Jail since July 18, 2019 when he was involved in a fatal pedestrian crash that killed a woman in St. Petersburg. Johnson was arrested for one count of vehicular homicide, one count of fleeing & eluding, one count of leaving the scene of a crash with death, and one count of leaving the scene of a crash with property damage.
He also was charged with trafficking in illegal drugs (hydromorphone), introduction/possession of contraband in a county detention facility and two counts of possession of cocaine.