Man charged with courtroom assault to face new charges after threatening Benton County judge


KENNEWICK, WA- The Benton County Deputy Coroner says his team has finished up an autopsy on the man who died in the Benton County Jail earlier this week.

The medical examiner found no physical trauma to Steven Flaten's body, however tissue and toxicology samples are being analyzed. That process will take eight weeks to finish.

Once those tests gets back, a cause and manner of death will be reported. Officers arrested Flaten in connection to a homicide investigation from last weekend. They found heroin and meth on him during his booking.


KENNEWICK, WA- The Special Investigative Unit is looking into the death of a Benton County inmate who is connected to an ongoing homicide investigation.

Corrections officers at the Benton County Jail found Steve Flaten unresponsive in his holding cell on Wednesday around 5:30 p.m. Kennewick police arrested Flaten earlier this week, on Monday, as a person of interested in a death investigation involving drugs. After Flaten's arrest, he was seen by staff at Trios Medical Center. Once he was cleared medically, he was transported to the jail and booked on multiple warrants including forgery charges, theft and misdemeanor driving offenses. Flaten was also booked on a new charge of possession of meth with intent to deliver in connection to the ongoing investigation. 

During Flaten's booking, officers suspected he may have drugs on him at the time, so they conducted a thorough search. Corrections officers found meth and heroine. Introduction of contraband charges into a correctional facility were added to his booking. Due to Flaten's condition, DOC workers put him on medical watch, he was checked every thirty minutes. Police say he remained on this scheduled watch until his death. 

Officers say medical staff visited with Flaten multiple times during his incarceration. Medical staff and more corrections officers responded to him once he was found unresponsive. A doctor pronounced him deceased a short time later. Officers do not suspect suicide. An autopsy will be performed as part of the death investigation.

A joint press conference is scheduled for Thursday afternoon at 1 p.m. with Benton County Sheriff's deputies and Kennewick police. 

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