Marion County inmate arrested for manslaughter following jail fight, deputies say

Eric Thanal Lutterloah, 52, had been held in Marion County Jail without bond

Eric Thanal Lutterloah was arrested for manslaughter, in addition to his previous charges, on Nov. 30. (Marion County Sheriff's Office)

MARION COUNTY, Fla. – A Marion County jail inmate was arrested for manslaughter Tuesday after a fight led to the death of another inmate, deputies said.

According to investigators, the initial incident occurred around 1 a.m. on Nov. 7 after lockdown.

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The 52-year-old suspect, Eric Thanal Lutterloah, was sitting in his assigned bunk bed when he got up and confronted the victim for talking loudly, an arrest report shows.

Lutterloah told deputies he asked Cory Merchant, 35, to leave the area multiple times and, when he didn’t, a fight ensued. Deputies said eyewitness statements and video footage provided evidence of this claim.

“Lutterloah pushed the victim and struck him several times, causing Merchant to fall to the cement floor, where he apparently struck his head and became unconscious,” the sheriff’s office said.

Merchant was transferred to a hospital, where he died nearly a week later on Nov. 13, the report reads.

Lutterloah was previously being held without bond on several charges, including armed kidnapping and sexual battery, and remains in the jail without bond.

About the Author:

Samantha started at WKMG-TV in September 2020. Before joining the News 6 team, Samantha was a political reporter for The Villages Daily Sun and has had freelance work featured in the Evansville Courier-Press and The Community Paper. When not writing, she enjoys travelling and performing improv comedy.