Prison guard ‘let inmate hang himself because she thought he was faking it’
A prison guard has been charged with negligent homicide after an inmate died by suicide in a New York jail cell, authorities said.
Captain Rebecca Hillman turned herself in to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office on Monday April 26 following the death of 29-year-old prisoner Ryan Wilson.
Ryan was locked up at the Manhattan Detention Complex, also known as The Tombs, on a parole violation and robbery charges when he threatened to hang himself on November 22.
Hillman allegedly took no action to help Ryan and ordered other prison guards not to help him because she thought he was joking, the New York Post reported.
Court papers claim Hillman Ryan began counting down before jumping from his bed, forcing an officer to call for the cell to be opened immediately so he could be cut down.
Hillman arrived on scene and allegedly told the guard and other inmates that Ryan was just "playing."
When the door opened, the guard is accused of barring entry to the cell, claiming Ryan faked the incident because he was still breathing.
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In a statement, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office said: "At this point, Hillman called for non-emergency backup and ordered the door closed while Mr. Wilson remained hanging inside of the locked cell."
Authorities said a total of 15 minutes went by before Hillman called for an emergency medical team, at which point Ryan was dead, it is claimed.
Prosecutors have also accused Hillman of lying on an official report, falsely claiming she ordered the cell door to open immediately.
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District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said: "The death of Ryan Wilson wasn’t just a tragedy — it was a crime."
Hillman has been suspended without pay pending the resolution of the case.
Defence lawyer Kenneth Montgomery described Hillman as a "hardworking mother" who "did her best" in a job that is "defined by trauma and tragedy."
For emotional support, you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.
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