Prettypaint death found to be suicide


The Bonneville County Prosecutor’s Office will not bring charges in the death of Mosiah Prettypaint after an investigation determined the Montana man committed suicide in his cell at the Bonneville County Jail. 

“It appears based upon the facts reviewed in this case that staff members at the Bonneville County Jail exercised reasonable care to ensure the health and safety of Prettypaint while in their custody,” a news release from the prosecutor’s office said. “There is no evidence to conclude that anyone acted with a ‘wanton, flagrant or reckless disregard of consequences or willful indifference of the safety or rights of others.’”

Prettypaint, 39, was found unresponsive in his holding cell at 4:35 p.m. Jan. 7. A Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office deputy asked Prettypaint if he wanted dinner. Prettypaint did not respond, and the deputy saw him covered with a brown, jail-issued blanket and a bed sheet wrapped around his neck.

Another deputy had checked on Prettypaint 27 minutes earlier, and saw he was fine. Jail policy requires inmates in holding cells to be checked on every 30 minutes.

The deputies called out a medical alert at 4:39 p.m. and began performing CPR. Paramedics arrived at 4:46 p.m. Prettypaint arrived at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center at 5:04 p.m. He died Jan. 8.

The death was investigated by the Tri-County Sheriff’s Association. No evidence was found that anyone had entered Prettypaint’s cell between 4:08 p.m. and 4:35 p.m. The autopsy found Prettypaint had positioned himself so his body weight would continue to block his breathing after losing consciousness. The Bonneville County Coroner determined the death was a suicide.

Prettypaint had been arrested Dec. 27 during a traffic stop for an arrest warrant from Montana for attempted strangulation. He had asked the Idaho Falls Police Department officer to loosen the handcuffs after his arms had turned purple. The officer complied, and after loosening the cuffs, Prettypaint attempted to flee.

The officer caught up to him, and Prettypaint began attacking the officer. Court records show the officer was considering using his gun when passersby stopped to help subdue Prettypaint.

Prettypaint was taken to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center on Dec. 31 after he said he had been having seizures. On the way back, he attempted to flee, jumping out of the transportation vehicle. Prettypaint surrendered shortly after and was taken back to jail.

Jail staff placed Prettypaint on suicide watch after deputies found him attempting to kill himself. While on suicide watch, inmates are checked every 15 minutes by jail staff. He made a second suicide attempt 26 minutes after his first attempt and was placed under constant supervision for the next hour. He was taken off suicide watch and placed in the holding cell on Jan. 5.

The prosecutor’s office news release states that because the evidence pointed to Prettypaint’s death being a suicide, the only crime to be considered was negligence.

Because the staff had responded to Prettypaint’s medical needs and made attempts to stop and prevent his suicide attempts and kept him monitored, the prosecutor’s office determined no one at the jail had committed a criminal offense.

Reporter Johnathan Hogan can be reached at 208-542-6746.