A 22-year-old Wichita man accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend and stuffing her in trunk of his car has died in jail, authorities said.
Lt. Nathan Gibbs with the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office identified the inmate as Alexander Lewis.
“Preliminary reports indicate the death was a result of self-inflicted asphyxiation,” Gibbs said.
Around 5:30 a.m. Thursday, Sedgwick County Jail staff found Lewis unresponsive in a cell. On-site medical staff and emergency medical services performed life-saving measures but he was pronounced dead, Gibbs said in a news release.
Lewis had been in custody since Aug. 26. He was charged with capital murder in the death of 19-year-old Zaiylah Bronson, who was found in the trunk of his car in front of his apartment in northeast Wichita. She was a Wichita State University student who aspired to be a math teacher.
Bronson’s mother, Taronza Bronson, expressed her sympathy for Lewis and his family.
“It’s just a tragedy that that happened to him and my heart just goes out to his family in this situation,” Bronson said. “I have no hard feelings and everything for whatever reason. Whatever was going through his mind, what took place and what enabled him to cause the harm to do such a thing to another person, which being my daughter.”
Bronson added: “I never thought about whether or not I wanted him to go to court or not. I kind of just been, you know, keeping my strength and my mind focused on what I have to do. It’s still kind of fresh. I mean it’s only been three months.”
In Bronson’s death, police were originally dispatched just before 11:30 a.m. after a 911 operator in North Carolina reported getting a call from a woman who said her son may have harmed his girlfriend, police previously said.
Police found her in the car in front of Lewis’ apartment in 7600 block of East 21st.
Court documents say he had searched the internet for information on “weapons that can kill,” choke holds and “snapping necks.”
This is the seventh in-custody death at the jail this year, Gibbs said.