An Augusta woman who pleaded not guilty to murder charges this week died Wednesday after she was found hanging in her cell in the Kennebec County jail.

Zina Marie Fritze, 27, was found around 1:45 p.m. Wednesday by a corrections officer conducting a check, Kennebec County Interim Sheriff Ryan Reardon said.

“She was unresponsive and hanging in her cell,” Reardon said.

The medical staff and corrections officers performed CPR on Fritze, which continued while she was loaded into an Augusta Rescue ambulance to take her to MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta, Reardon said.

“Prior to making it to MaineGeneral, paramedics on scene assessed she was not going to survive,” Reardon said. “She was pronounced dead.”

Maine State Police spokesman Stephen McCausland said Fritze’s body was taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for an autopsy.

Reardon said jail personnel were making special checks on Fritze because of concern that she might harm herself.

Fritze and her partner, Michael Sean McQuade, 45, on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, felony murder and robbery in what police have called a drug-related homicide. The couple and Damik Davis, 25, of Queens, New York, who is facing the same charges, are accused of killing 31-year-old Joseph Marceau on Nov. 23 in the couple’s apartment on Washington Street in Augusta.

Reardon said the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office, Maine State Police and the Office of Professional Review are investigating Fritze’s death. The state Department of Corrections and the Office of the Maine Attorney General have been notified.

“All of which is standard operating procedure,” Reardon said.

A message left with Fritze’s attorney, Darrick Banda, was not returned immediately.

Fritze and McQuade, in separate court appearances, pleaded not guilty Tuesday during their arraignments at the Capital Judicial Center.

Indictments against the pair, which were handed up Friday by a grand jury in Kennebec County, were sealed until Monday.

Justice Daniel Billings ordered Fritze and McQuade held without bail. Both waived bail hearings until a later date.

Fritze and McQuade are the second and third people charged in the killing of Marceau. Davis was arrested Nov. 23, 2015, the day police found Marceau’s body on the fourth floor of the apartment building. Davis, like Fritze and McQuade, was indicted on charges of murder, felony murder and robbery. He is being held without bail in the Kennebec County jail.

A conviction for murder carries a minimum penalty of 25 years in prison without the possibility of release or parole. The felony murder charge, which carries a maximum penalty of 30 years, stems from the belief that the murder was committed during the act of a robbery.

Fritze and McQuade were arrested Friday on alleged probation violations. Each was told of the indictments Monday, just before making initial appearances via video on the probation violation charges.

Documents in the case against Davis were sealed by a judge at the state’s request, so there is no explanation yet from authorities of how Marceau was killed.

Marceau lived in an apartment on Winthrop Street about a mile from where his body was discovered. Neighbors in the Washington Street apartment building said they heard a series of thuds from the apartment occupied by McQuade and Fritze, and records indicate the two were being evicted from their apartment.

By Craig Crosby — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @CraigCrosby4

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