Man awaiting treatment at state hospital dies in Allegheny County Jail 

Brittany Hailer

Update: Douglas Bonomo, 59, was found unresponsive in the Allegheny County Jail on Sunday, according to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner. The county had not previously identified him in a press release notifying the public of his death.

A 59-year-old man died in the Allegheny County Jail’s mental health unit on Sunday, according to a press release from the county.

Around 7 a.m. Sunday, correctional officers discovered the unresponsive man in his cell and notified a nurse, the county reported. After paramedics arrived, the individual was pronounced dead around 7:20 a.m. 

The man’s name has not yet been provided by the county. The jail did not have an emergency contact for the man. The Medical Examiner will not provide identification of an individual who dies in custody until the family is notified, according to the county. 

The man had been charged with retail theft, theft by unlawful taking, evading arrest and disorderly conduct and was booked in January. Following an incompetency evaluation, the man was committed to Torrance State Hospital in April. The man had been placed on a waitlist and was housed on the jail’s mental health unit. There are currently 31 individuals housed at the jail awaiting transfer to Torrance, according to the county.

A six-month investigation by Spotlight PA and the Pittsburgh Institute for Nonprofit Journalism found that the Pennsylvania laws and policies meant to aid people who have severe mental health issues and have been accused of a crime often do just the opposite. The project tells the story of Rachel Bridgeman, a woman who became trapped in the Allegheny County Jail after being found incompetent to stand trial. Her mental health severely deteriorated and she became suicidal inside the jail’s mental health unit.

Warden Orlando Harper wrote in a press release, “We have a number of individuals with acute mental health needs at the facility who have been committed to Torrance. Until a bed opens, they must remain at the jail per the Courts … Our last transfer to Torrance was on July 5 and we have one individual who has been waiting for transfer since March.”

This is the jail’s third death this year. Two men, James Washington, 42, and Tim Manino, 60, died following detox treatment in the jail’s intake unit in May. 

Since April 2020, 19 men have died following their incarceration at the Allegheny County Jail.