Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) has provided more details about the death of a man in a southeast Missouri jail, as he and the Missouri State Highway Patrol continue to investigate the incident.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley briefs reporters about the Hutcheson case in Jefferson City on May 10, 2017 (Brian Hauswirth photo}

Hawley met with Highway Patrol officials in the Bootheel town of Charleston on Thursday to assess the evidence gathered so far about the death of 28-year-old Tory Sanders, who died after an altercation with staff Friday evening in the Mississippi County Jail.

After Thursday’s trip, Hawley headed back to Jefferson City, where he held a news conference at the Attorney General’s office for a second straight day.

Hawley describes it as an “active and open criminal investigation.”

Mississippi County Sheriff Cory Hutcheson, who is already facing numerous criminal charges, has now been ousted from his office, a move Hawley described to reporters in Jefferson City on Thursday afternoon as an “extraordinary step.”

Hutcheson was already under investigation by the Missouri Attorney General’s office. On April 5, he was charged with 18 criminal counts, some of them felonies. They included forgery, illegal surveillance, robbery and assault.

Hawley said he attempted to prevent Hutcheson from engaging in law enforcement activity as a condition of his bond, but was blocked from doing this by the court in charge of the case.

On Tuesday, a judge approved Attorney General Hawley’s request to suspend Hutcheson’s office through a process known as quo warranto. Now Hutcheson will have to justify to a court why he can continue to hold the position of Sheriff.

Hutcheson’s law enforcement license was already revoked by the Missouri Department of Public Safety, but so far it is unclear how he was able to stay involved in jail operations.

Hawley briefed reporters on Thursday about what his office and the Highway Patrol’s investigation have discovered about the case so far, providing details of Tory Sanders’ arrest, jailing and death.

According to Hawley, Sanders drove out of Nashville, heading north toward Missouri, on Thursday, May 4. He ran out of gas near Marston Missouri and hitchhiked to Sikeston, where he went to a Walmart to receive a money wire transfer from his brother.

By Thursday night, Sanders made it to Charleston, 17 miles east of Sikeston. At a gas station he approached police officers, though the nature and time of the exchange are still unclear to investigators.

At around 11 a.m. on Friday, Sanders once again approached officers at a Casey’s gas station in Charleston, telling officers he was in distress and wanted to see a counselor.

Sanders also told officers that he had a warrant out for his arrest in Nashville related to an “altercation” with the mother of his children. Upon learning this, Charleston Police took him to the Mississippi County jail, where they discovered the warrant was non-extraditable; Missouri Law enforcement were not asked to detain or send Sanders back to Tennessee.

According to Hawley, Sanders was placed in a holding cell, and received a visit from a mental health professional at around noon.

The professional concluded that Sanders did not need to be committed for mental health reasons and recommended he be released.

Hawley said at this point some details become unclear, but that jail officials said Sanders refused to leave his holding cell, becoming “increasingly agitated.”

Around this point the Deputy Sheriff allowed Sanders to call his mother from his cell phone.

At around 4 p.m. the mental health professional was asked to return to the jail, and this time recommended Sanders be held for 96 hours for mental health reasons.

It was around 6 p.m. that jail staff tried to move him to a different cell, leading to what Hawley called “a series of exchanges and altercations,” that lasted around 45 minutes. It was around this time that Charleston Police arrived to assist, using pepper spray in an attempt to subdue Sanders.

In addition to pepper spray, Hawley says jail staff used tasers on Sanders at least three times throughout the day.

It was around 7 p.m. that Sheriff Cory Hutcheson arrived and organized jail staff and Charleston Police to enter the cell and forcibly remove Sanders.

Ten minutes after Sheriff Hutcheson led the group into the cell, emergency medical help was called. Sanders was taken to a local hospital and pronounced dead shortly after.

Investigators are still awaiting toxicology test results.

Hawley says he has reached out to Sander’s family in Tennessee to offer them his condolences.