Inmate accused of murder dies after altercation with corrections officers

An inmate at the Kitsap County Jail who was left in critical condition following a physical confrontation with officers died Friday morning, authorities said.

The Kitsap Critical Incident Response Team, which is responsible for investigating the county jail incident, announced Friday that Sean Michael Howell, 28, died at 8:54 a.m.

Howell had been arrested a week ago, May 8, and charged with first-degree murder, after detectives discovered the body of his girlfriend, Sabrina A. Olson-Smith, 23, of Port Orchard. According to court documents, Howell told investigators that he was woken up by Olson-Smith straddling his chest waving a knife and threatening to kill him. He claimed he was defending himself from being attacked by his girlfriend and later used a “butcher knife” and a sword to kill her.

The next day, around 10:30 a.m., Howell was reportedly seen tampering with a ceiling sprinkler in his cell. As officers made contact, he became combative and injured one, according to statements from the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office and Washington State Patrol.

In the physical altercation, Howell was eventually put into a restraints chair and was later observed to be in distress. CPR was administered and Howell was taken to the hospital.

KCIRT, with the Washington State Patrol as the lead agency, will continue on with the investigation. The Kitsap County Coroner’s Office will determine Howell’s cause of death.

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