Prosecutor: Taser did not cause Ionia prisoner’s death

Dustin Szot died in Sept. 2016 after fight with another prison inmate

Dustin Szot
An undated courtesy photo of Dustin Szot.


IONIA, Mich. (WOOD) — The use of stun guns to subdue a state prisoner in September did not lead to his death, the Ionia County prosecutor said.

The family of Dustin Szot, 24, have said they believe corrections officers used excessive force in his Sept. 27, 2016 death at the Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility in Ionia.

Police say Szot was shocked with stun guns after getting into a fight with another inmate. He was taken to receive medical treatment and died later that afternoon.

Ionia County Prosecutor Kyle Butler said an autopsy showed stun guns did not cause his death. However, he refused to disclose the cause of death because state police are still investigating.

The investigation, he said, could lead to criminal charges.

Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman Chris Gautz said the prison system reviewed the incident.

“It seemed clear to us the Taser was not the issue,” he said.

Szot and another prisoner were fighting after lunch. They were told to stop fighting but refused. That’s when a prison guard used a Taser on both inmates, the MDOC spokesman said.

Immediately after the fight, the prison moved the other inmate to temporary segregation, Gautz said. He’s a 26-year-old in prison for home invasion.

“As soon as he (Szot) died, he (the other inmate) clammed right up,” Gautz said.

Szot, a father of three, was serving a three-year sentence at the Ionia prison for home invasion.