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AR- Tucker inmate found hanging in cell

6-14-2009 Arkansas:

An inmate was discovered hanging in his cell at the state Department of Correction's Tucker Unit on Friday morning.

Jessie Garcia, 48, was found at 7:20 a.m. suspended by a piece of material that had been looped around his neck and tied to a low bar of his cell, Correction Department spokesman Dina Tyler said. It seemed that Garcia had sat down after creating a noose and tying the cloth to the bar, she said. She assumed the cloth was a sheet, she said, but didn't know for sure.

The death appeared to be a suicide, Tyler said. However, she said Garcia hadn't previously "exhibited any outward signs, including any verbal indications" of being suicidal. Garcia was the only occupant of his cell.

"He did have mental health as well as medical issues, and those combined with the length of his sentence could have played a role in this," Tyler said. Garcia had a seizure disorder and had been in the prison's infirmary Thursday night after reporting having had a seizure, she said.

Garcia was serving a 20-year sentence in the rape of a minor, according to court documents. He had been sentenced by the White County Circuit Court. He began his sentence on June 12, 2003. He would have been eligible for parole in 2017, Tyler said. In 1988, he was sentenced for robbery and property theft.

Tyler said a guard had last checked on Garcia 20 minutes before he was found. He had a history of disciplinary problems and violence at the prison, most recently violating assault and battery rules June 4, she said. ..Source.. by SAMANTHA FRIEDMAN

AR- Ark. state prison inmate apparently hung himself

6-12-2009 Arkansas:

TUCKER, Ark. (AP) - An inmate at the state prison system's Tucker Unit who was found hanging in his cell has died.

Prisons spokeswoman Dina Tyler says guards found 48-year-old Jessie Garcia unresponsive inside a single-man cell at 7:20 a.m. Friday. Tyler says Garcia apparently wrapped cloth around his neck and through bars on his cell door, then sat down.

Tyler says guards saw Garcia awake and talking around 7 a.m. She says Garcia had not threatened suicide, but suffered from seizures and mental illness and went to the prison's infirmary Thursday night.

An autopsy is planned, and state police will investigate.

Garcia was serving a 20-year sentence for rape out of White County. ..Source.. by WXVT15 TV

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