Dad dies before trial on death of baby found in freezer

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Authorities in Alabama say a man awaiting trial for the death of his 6-month-old son has been found dead in his jail cell.

Houston County Sheriff Donald Valenza tells reporters that Carlton James Mathis was found dead Friday. He says the state law enforcement agency is investigating.

Authorities say Curtis James Oakes died in Mathis’ care last summer and was found days later stuffed into a Dothan motel room freezer. Court testimony showed he died after ingesting methamphetamine.

Mathis’ death comes days after the baby’s mother, 36-year-old Amanda Gail Oakes, pleaded guilty to charges including manslaughter and corpse abuse. Her plea was part of a deal in which she agreed to testify against Mathis at his November trial on similar charges. She was sentenced to 99 years in prison.

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