Homeless Vet 'Basically Baked to Death' in NY Jail
Riker's Island having trouble with mental illness, violence
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Mar 19, 2014 1:20 PM CDT
Alma Murdough holds a photo of her son, Jerome, at her home in Queens.   (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

(Newser) – Guards at Rikers Island are supposed to check on mentally ill inmates every 15 minutes. But when Jerome Murdough was booked for sleeping on a housing project roof, he was left unattended long enough to keel over dead from overheating, the AP revealed today. The former Marine was left alone in a cell at 10:30pm on Feb. 14 that, thanks to some malfunctioning equipment, reached at least 100 degrees. He was found slumped over dead at 2:30am.

The 56-year-old had apparently failed to open a vent in his cell, as other inmates had, and he was especially susceptible to heat because of his anti-psychotic and anti-seizure medication. "He basically baked to death," one official says. The AP's report comes the same day that the New York Times published a look at the problems caused by Rikers' growing concentration of mentally ill inmates, who say they've suffered abuse from guards and other prisoners. The Times links the trend to a surge in violence not seen in decades; at least 12 inmates have been slashed or stabbed already this year.

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Showing 3 of 58 comments
deskpounder
May 22, 2014 3:43 PM CDT
No guard can check on a prisoner every 15 minutes. So the question is: who gives a damn about a convict? They're in solitary confinement for a reason! Can't beat them so just lock them up in a private cell. Nothing wrong about that.
JackNelsonSteward
Mar 20, 2014 3:39 PM CDT
What's it called when your neglect causes the death of another? That should be charged here.
loveandhope
Mar 20, 2014 12:51 PM CDT
That is ashame. I can't imaging being treated that way, let alone treating someone else that way.