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Man awaiting sentencing dies at Pima County Jail over weekend

A 32-year-old man was found dead early Saturday morning in the Pima County Jail. Ricardo Duran pleaded guilty last week to attempted armed robbery, and was set to be sentenced next month.

Duran's death was not announced by the Pima County Sheriff's Department. A PCSD spokeswoman confirmed it after TucsonSentinel.com inquired based on a tip from a source.

Duran, who had been in custody since being arrested last April, was "located unresponsive in his cell" around 4:15 a.m. Saturday, said Deputy Marissa Hernandez.

A cause of death has not been released; the incident is "under investigation," she said.

Duran's next of kin was notified of his death, she said.

But his attorney, Brad Roach, was not.

"On hearing the news that my client may have passed away, I scheduled a video call with him," Roach told TucsonSentinel.com. "I waited in front of a blank screen for half an hour before the call was terminated with no explanation from the jail about his condition."

"I was never notified in any way that he had passed away. He was relatively young and in good health as far as I was aware," Roach said.

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Duran had been charged last year with attempt to commit armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, and third-degree burglary. He pleaded guilty to the attempted armed robbery charge last Monday.

He was scheduled to be sentenced on July 17. The conviction on a third-degree felony charge would have led to 2 to 8.75 years behind bars. He likely would have received a sentence of about 2.5 years, Roach said.

Last November, the death of an inmate, Francisco Ruiz, during a "use-of-force encounter" with Pima County jail guards was kept under wraps for days, until after TucsonSentinel.com published a news report about it.

This original news reporting was partly supported by the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information at the University of Florida, which awarded Sentinel Editor Dylan Smith a Brechner Reporting Fellowship to pursue in-depth journalism about government secrecy.

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The Pima County Adult Detention Center