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IL- Coroner's jury rules hanging at jail was suicide

9-17-2009 Illinois:

URBANA – A Champaign County coroner's jury has ruled that a man found hanging from a bed sheet at the county jail intended to kill himself.

The jury Thursday found the death of Todd Kelly, 42, who last lived in the 4800 block of West Windsor Road, to be a suicide. The jury also recommended constant, rather than intermittent, monitoring of known suicidal inmates.

Mr. Kelly died June 25 at Carle Foundation Hospital, where he had been hospitalized since June 7. About 10:45 a.m. that day, he was found hanging by a bed sheet from a stairwell in a day room at the satellite jail on Lierman Avenue in Urbana.

Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup said the cause of death was a lack of oxygen to the brain.

Sheriff's investigator Tony Shaw said Mr. Kelly had been in segregation because of his mental issues, which included previous suicide attempts. At the time he was found, Mr. Kelly was alone, out of his cell for the hour of recreation he was allowed. The seven inmates in that pod were allowed out of their cells one at a time, Shaw said, and no other inmates saw Mr. Kelly before a correctional officer found him hanging.

Shaw said jail procedure is to check inmates every half-hour. A video camera runs continually and is monitored by an operator in another part of the jail but does not record, he said. The camera was unable to see under the stairs where Mr. Kelly was found hanging, Shaw said.

Mr. Kelly was awaiting trial for child pornography and had two other sex-related cases pending at the time of his death. ..Source.. by Mary Schenk

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