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Death of Roanoke County man serving sentence for murder ruled suicide

Death of Roanoke County man serving sentence for murder ruled suicide

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The death of a Roanoke County man who was serving a life sentence for the murder of his girlfriend has been ruled a suicide, according to the medical examiner’s office.

Jeffrey Scott Easley, 42, died March 1 at a regional hospital in Galax, state prison officials said at the time. Easley had been in custody at River North Correctional Center in Grayson County after being sentenced to life without parole in 2012.

He had pleaded no contest to a charge of capital murder in the 2010 death of Tina Smith.

The case made headlines and sparked a national manhunt. Easley was accused of fatally beating Smith, of Roanoke County, and abducting her 12-year-old daughter.

Smith had been growing suspicious of Easley’s relationship with her child, prosecutors said in court. He was arrested days later after being found in San Francisco with the girl.

The medical examiner’s office concluded that his death in March was a suicide by hanging, according to a spokeswoman. No other information was immediately available.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a free and confidential service available around the clock to people in need of support or resources. The lifeline can be reached at 800-273-8255.

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