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Monday, April 11, 2005
Inmate found dead
3rd Worcester '05 jail death

By Martin Luttrell
TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
[email protected]

WEST BOYLSTON- An inmate at the Worcester County Jail died of an apparent suicide yesterday after complaining of chest pains, then declining an offer to remain in the jail's infirmary for monitoring, according to Deputy Superintendent Jeffrey Turco.

The 33-year-old Worcester resident was found hanging by a bedsheet in a second-floor bathroom doorway at 11:10 a.m., about 5 minutes after he was noted missing during a routine head count, Deputy Superintendent Turco said. The inmate was pronounced dead at UMass Memorial Medical Center - University Campus, Worcester.

The death was the third this year at the facility, which houses the Worcester County Jail and House of Correction.

"At 9 a.m. he went to the infirmary complaining of chest pains," Deputy Superintendent Turco said. "A nurse took his vital signs and did not detect any problems. He was asked if he wanted to be on medical watch, and he said no and left the infirmary. He was not acting in an unusual or threatening manner."

Sheriff's Department officers were trying to determine where the inmate went after that. The inmate, housed in the L building in the modular complex of the jail, had so-called "open yard" from 9 to 11 a.m. to walk about the yard, go to the infirmary or to religious services, held in the modular programs building, across the yard from the infirmary, the deputy superintendent said.

At 11:05 the inmate was reported missing, and that part of the facility was placed in lockdown while perimeter security and West Boylston police checked the area around the perimeter fence for someone trying to escape, Deputy Superintendent Turco said. Meanwhile, other officers went about checking every room in every building, he said.

"At 11:10 the inmate was found in a second-floor bathroom doorway, hanging from a door jamb. It appeared to be with a sheet or some similar type of cloth material," the deputy said, adding that the sheet was tied to the arm of a device that automatically pulls the door closed.

"By statute, in Massachusetts, any time a death occurs inside the walls of a prison or county facility, the Massachusetts State Police assigned to the district attorney's office will do an investigation," he said. "It appears to be a tragic case of someone with issues that led to a suicide. The whole modular is in lockdown and will continue to be so until tomorrow morning."

The state medical examiner's office transported the body to Boston yesterday for an autopsy, he said.

Deputy Superintendent Turco said the inmate had been incarcerated at the House of Correction last fall, after being sentenced on convictions of larceny of more than $250 and possession of marijuana. He was subsequently released and was on probation, but was picked up Friday evening on a probation violation by a task force comprised of the sheriff's department, the U.S. marshal's office and state police.
He was being held as a pretrial inmate pending a probation surrender hearing, Deputy Superintendent Turco said. Since arriving at the jail on Friday, the inmate made no calls and had no complaints documented, he said.

•On Feb. 23 inmate Daniel McMullen, 42, formerly of Douglas, was beaten by another inmate and died 20 days later after slipping into a coma. The inmate who allegedly inflicted the fatal beating, Dennis Hadley, 49, formerly of Rhode Island, has since been transferred to Bridgewater State Hospital for psychiatric review.

•On Feb. 27 John Yovino, 38, formerly of Fitchburg, died at the jail of a drug overdose. He had been incarcerated for two months on an assault charge and parole violations.
 
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