LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — A Sheffield man charged with felony murder of another inmate has been moved from the Shoals to Limestone County for his own safety, according to officials.
Lauderdale County Sheriff Joe Hamilton confirmed with News 19 that Russell Lyn Reatherford is now being housed in the Limestone County Detention Center “due to safety concerns for him due to other inmates.”
On Feb. 14, Corrections Deputies at the jail were alerted by other inmates around 7 p.m. that 37-year-old inmate Harley James Coyer was unresponsive in his cell. Authorities said life-saving measures were immediately taken but the Lauderdale County Coroner pronounced him dead.
Sheriff Hamilton told News 19 that the incident likely happened after 5 p.m., which is the last time that Coyer was seen by deputies.
Coyer had been in the Lauderdale County Detention Center since May 24, 2022. He was arrested on several charges including attempting to elude, resisting arrest, and unlawful possession of a controlled substance.
Hamilton said Reatherford shared a cell with Coyer and had been brought into the detention center the day before Coyer’s death.
Investigators with the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office presented evidence to a grand jury, which Hamilton said shows Reatherford supplied 37-year-old inmate Harley James Coyer with a lethal amount of fentanyl.
Reatherford was served an indictment on March 20, charging him with felony murder, unlawful distribution of a controlled substance and second-degree promoting prison contraband.
An arraignment has been scheduled for Reatherford’s felony murder charge on April 28 under Judge Benjamin Graves.