Stories posted are written by National news Journalists, not by this blog.
Our Blog Tips

NY- Sex offender awaiting sentencing found dead in jail cell

2-3-2009 New York:

MADISON COUNTY, N.Y. (WKTV) - An investigation is continuing into the apparent suicide death of an inmate housed in the Madison County Public Safety Building Jail shortly after 2 a.m. Tuesday morning.

According to the Madison County Sheriff, Michael York, 44, was found unresponsive by Corrections Officers as the officers were performing inmate cell checks.

York was treated at the scene by Corrections Officers, members of the Oneida Fire Department and Vineall Ambulance Service.

York was sent to the Oneida Healthcare Facility where he was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival.

He was sent to the Onondaga County Medical Examiners Office where an autopsy will be conducted.

The Madison County Sheriff's Office has notified the New York State Commission of Corrections. In addition to the ongoing Sheriff's Office investigation, the New York State Commission will conduct a routine independent inmate death investigation.

York was incarcerated awaiting County Court sentencing on a charge of criminal sexual act.

The charges stem from 2008, when York had been walking in the Village of Hamilton and asked a village police officer for a ride to Oneida.

Unknown to York, area police were already investigating him after a couple who had been walking their dog along a canal trail in early July reported seeing York and a younger male under the age of 15 engaged in what deputies called "a suspicious incident."

York gave a statement to investigators in Oneida and was then charged with two counts of criminal sexual act. ..Source.. by DAVE DELLECESE


State faults Madison County Jail after inmate suicide


Investigation report said Michael York told investigators he was suicidal even before his arrest and guilty plea

Two days before he was to be sentenced to 15-years-to-life on sexual abuse charges for molesting a teenage boy, Michael York told his wife that he didn’t want to go back to prison. According to the state Commission of Corrections, she later told investigators York said ‘don’t wait around for me; get on with your life.’

According to the report, York’s wife, whom the Commission would not identify by name, left the visitor area at the Madison County Jail and immediately asked a correction officer to keep an eye on York, fearing he was contemplating suicide. It was not the first time authorities were informed of his mental condition, investigators said, yet he was never placed on suicide watch.

York, 44, of Eaton, was found in his cell in the early morning hours of Nov. 3, a torn bed sheet tied around his neck and through a ceiling air vent.

According to an investigation report from the state Commission of Corrections obtained by the Madison County Courier under the Freedom of Information Law, correction officers thought nothing was unusual when they made their rounds and saw York apparently standing near the urinal with his back to them, refusing to acknowledge them during cell checks.

When they circled back a few minutes later, one of them observed that York “appeared taller.” They opened the cell door to find him dead.

The report indicated York left suicide notes for his wife and the judge, but did not detail their content. There was no entry of the suicide in the jail log book, only a note that said “unusual activities noted in E-21.”

According to the report, the corrections officer ignored the woman’s request to keep an eye on York and did not pass that information along to a superior officer. State correction investigators also said a psychiatrist and a social worker from the county Mental Health Department didn’t provide adequate care for York and failed to provide an appropriate treatment plan for him.

York was arrested in July 2008, several days after a pair of hikers witnessed him and a teenage boy engaging in sexual activities in the woods. York, after finding out that he was wanted for questioning, called a Madison County Sheriff’s Office investigator before his arrest and left three messages noting that he was contemplating suicide, according to the report.

On the day of his arrest, he told authorities that he overdosed on medication in a suicide attempt a few hours earlier, but they did not bring him to a hospital, according to the report.

After his arrest, York told a psychiatrist from MHD that his wife had cancer and that he previously attempted suicide. The doctor noted signs of depression and a history of mental health and sex offender treatment, but correction officers noted in jail log records that the inmate “has no thoughts of suicide at this time,” according to the report.

York pleaded guilty to a felony criminal sexual act charge on Nov. 25, 2008. In the jail time that followed he appeared polite and pleasant with jail staff, and he visited with his wife regularly, according to the report. A few days before the suicide, he was observed working on a puzzle and conversing normally with jail staff.

York was already a Level 3 sex offender, the highest classification in the state, due to a previous conviction for abusing a 7-year-old. He also served prison time following a 1997 burglary conviction. His criminal record would have been considered when correction officials considered whether York should ever be released from prison. During York’s guilty plea, defense attorneys said it was unlikely that York would ever be released.

As a result of the investigation’s finding, Sheriff Ronald Cary was ordered to have correctional faculty and medical personnel that works at the jail retrained, though the report did not specify in which areas the training would occur.

Cary has since resigned the office of sheriff.

The Commission of Corrections has also asked the sheriff’s office to review the performance of the officer who spoke to York’s wife after she observed the suicidal behavior. The state Commission of Mental Health has been asked to review the performance of the psychiatrist and social worker who were involved in York’s case.

The report did not include a response from the Madison County Sheriff’s Office. ..Source.. by Aaron Gifford

No comments: