An inmate’s death at the Cumberland County Jail last month has been classified as accidental and caused by “acute intoxication” from fentanyl and morphine, the state Medical Examiner’s Office announced Monday.

Nikco Bashari Walton, 24, of Portland was found dead in his cell by his cell mate on April 11, after nearly a week in the Portland jail on charges of possessing cocaine and violating probation.

Monday’s announcement did not address how Walton got the drugs that killed him, whether he smuggled them into the jail or whether he got them from someone there. Mark Belserene, administrator for the Medical Examiner’s Office, would not release the full autopsy report or provide any other details.

Walton’s attorneys, Cory McKenna and Amy Fairfield, said last month that they were told by jail officials that Walton had swallowed a drug-filled balloon before being arrested on April 5 and that the balloon burst inside him six days later. But the attorneys were skeptical of that account and said it was more likely that he got the drugs that killed him after he was incarcerated.

Fairfield said Monday that she had yet to see the autopsy report and was still waiting for more information about Walton’s death.

“The cause and manner of death are not a big surprise. It certainly is tragic, however,” Fairfield said.


Even though Walton died in jail, which is run by the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, his death was investigated by the Portland Police Department, which investigates all deaths in the city.

“We don’t believe any criminal conduct occurred,” said Lt. James Sweatt, a spokesman for the police department. “I can’t get into specifics.”

Sweatt said police forwarded the results of their investigation to the state Attorney General’s Office for further review.

Timothy Feeley, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office, said the review is continuing and he could not comment on what police and the Medical Examiner’s Office found.

“As is customary with any in-custody death, the Attorney General’s Office is reviewing the circumstances surrounding the death of Nicko Walton,” Feeley said.

Walton was found unresponsive around 6:40 a.m. on April 11. Medical workers were unable to revive him.

He was arrested in Gorham on April 5 on a cocaine possession charge and was being held for allegedly violating the terms of his probation on a heroin possession conviction from 2015. Walton had tested positive for cocaine in his system as recently as April 4 during a routine test at the Portland Probation Office.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.