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OR- Rape suspect dies at OHSU

6-14-2008 Oregon:

The rape suspect who used a bed sheet to hang himself Tuesday in the Umatilla County Jail died as a result of his injuries.

David Eugene Malone, 29, died at 6:11 p.m. Wednesday. He was the suspect in a violent rape case and faced charges of attempted aggravated murder, first-degree rape, first-degree sex abuse, first- and second-degree assault and first-degree robbery.

Malone had pleaded not guilty to all charges. He was going to trial in less than two weeks and faced a life sentence if a jury convicted him.

Umatilla County Sheriff John Trumbo said Malone was the lone inmate in an administrative segregation cell, where he hung himself. But doing that took considerable practice and effort.

Trumbo explained Malone had cut a sheet into thin strips and worked the strips through ventilation holes that are three-eighths of an inch wide.

The vents are supposed to be "hang-proof," Trumbo said, but Malone poked one end of the sheet through a vent hole and then used a pencil or toothbrush to hook the end and pull it through another vent hole.

Malone did that with several thin strips of the sheet until he had enough to support his weight.

Trumbo said the cells must have ventilation and the vent holes are as small as possible to still allow air flow.

"Ultimately, if a person is bent on taking their own life, they are going to do it," Trumbo said.

Malone was in the segregation cell because of the charges against him. Trumbo also said Malone wasn't taking any medications and mental health authorities previously judged he was in good condition.

Jail staff looked in on Malone every 30 minutes. Trumbo said a staff member looked at Malone and made eye contact with him, but when staff returned 30 minutes later Malone was hanging from a bed sheet.

Staff gave Malone CPR until an ambulance arrived to take him to St. Anthony Hospital. From there, a helicopter took Malone to Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, where he died.

Pendleton police arrested Malone Aug. 23, 2007, 10 days after a man attacked a woman from behind around 4:45 a.m. Aug. 13, 2007, in the first block of Southeast Isaac Avenue. The attacker allegedly grabbed the woman's neck and bounced her head off the pavement before raping her.

Police used DNA and other evidence to track down Malone. Authorities also found Malone was an ex-convict who had served three years in an Oregon prison for rape. ..News Source.. by Phil Wright, The East Oregonian

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