Four people held in a problem-plagued jail have died over the span of a month

FILE - A Fulton County Jail signs points to where the jail is located, Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023, in Atlanta. Authorities say a 34-year-old man who was being held at the problem-plagued Fulton County Jail died after being taken to a hospital. He was the fourth person to die in county custody in the span of a month. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

ATLANTA (AP) — A 34-year-old man who was being held at a problem-plagued jail in Atlanta died after he was taken to a hospital. He was the fourth person to die in Fulton County custody in the span of a month.

A jail officer doing dinner rounds found Samuel Lawrence unresponsive in his cell at about 4:20 p.m. on Saturday, the Fulton County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday in a news release. Lawrence was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, where he was declared dead.

The Fulton County Jail has been in the national spotlight recently. It's where former President Donald Trump and the 18 people indicted along with him surrendered for booking last week on charges related to an alleged illegal scheme to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Georgia.

Last month, the U.S. Department of Justice opened a civil rights investigation into jail conditions in the county, citing violence, filthy conditions and the death last year of a man whose body was found covered in insects.

Lawrence had been arrested by Atlanta police and was booked into the main county jail on Dec. 26. He was charged with second-degree arson and had a bond set at $30,000.

The sheriff's office said Atlanta police will investigate Lawrence's death, and the Fulton County medical examiner's office will do an autopsy to determine the manner and cause of death.

Lashawn Thompson, 35, died last September in a bedbug-infested cell in the Fulton County Jail’s psychiatric wing. An independent autopsy done at his family’s request found he died from severe neglect. His family has since reached a settlement with the county.

The other three people who died in the last month include 66-year-old Alexander Hawkins, 34-year-old Christopher Smith and 40-year-old Montay Stinson.