MARTINEZ -- An inquest into the death of 21-year-old Joseph Behiel will be held in early October, nearly seven months after the Pleasanton man asphyxiated himself in a crowded intake area of the Martinez Detention Facility.

Officials say details surrounding Behiel's attempted suicide at the Contra Costa County jail on March 21 will be presented by Sheriff David Livingston to a jury for deliberation, as is standard with any fatal incidents where officers are present, Sheriff's spokesman Jimmy Lee said. A "large number" of deputies were present, Lee said in March, but details about the death have not been released.

Behiel was arrested in San Ramon on weapons charges, suspicion of a probation violation and resisting arrest. He had been at the facility less than 16 hours and had not yet been issued a cell when he tried to asphyxiate himself in the busy area of the jail with multiple rooms, Lee said.

Medical staff at the jail tried to save him while fire and ambulance crews were called. He was taken to the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center in Martinez, where he died the next day in the intensive care unit.

An autopsy performed March 25 showed he died of asphyxia, and the coroner ruled the death a suicide, Lee said.

The inquest, which will be open to the public, will be held at 9 a.m. Oct. 10, at the A.F. Bray Courthouse in Martinez, located at 1020 Ward Street, Dept. 16, Room 2012.


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