Connecticut's medical examiner has ruled the death of a prison inmate who struggled with guards a homicide

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NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — The death of a prison inmate who struggled with guards has been ruled a homicide, the state’s chief medical examiner said.

J’Allen Jones, 31, died in March at the Garner Correctional Institution in Newtown. The Atlanta man was being transferred to a mental health unit within the prison when he became “non-compliant,” and “combative” with staff, authorities said. Jones become non-responsive and was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Dr. James Gill, Connecticut’s chief medical examiner, told the Hartford Courant on Friday that Jones died suddenly “during struggle and restraint with chest compression.”

An adverse reaction to pepper spray used during the incident also contributed to the death, Gill said.

The medical examiner stressed that the finding does not necessarily mean that a crime was committed or that excessive force was used during the incident

Karen Martucci, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Correction, said state police are continuing to investigate the case, but added the agency for now stands by its initial assessment that there was no apparent indication of excessive force by the officers, who have not been disciplined.

“The death of an individual under the care and custody of the Department of Correction is a very serious matter and we are fully committed to cooperating with external law enforcement,” the department’s commissioner, Scott Semple, said in March at the time of the incident.

Jones was serving a 10-year sentence for first-degree robbery.

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Information from: Hartford Courant, http://www.courant.com