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.

View 1 more image
More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Homeless Vet 'Basically Baked to Death' in NY Jail is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 58 comments
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.
Mar 20, 2014 3:39 PM CDT
What's it called when your neglect causes the death of another? That should be charged here.
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.