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Inmate Commits Suicide Despite Warning from Judge

12-23-2009 Ohio:

CLEVELAND - An inmate kills himself inside the Cuyahoga County jail, even though a judge had ordered him placed on suicide watch.

Last Thursday, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Brendan Sheehan sentenced a 60-year old man to eight years in prison for sexually assaulting his grandchildren. To protect their identities, we are not revealing his name.

"My focus here right now, given the circumstances is my concern for his widow and trying to figure out what happened, what went wrong," said defense attorney Lester Potash.

Judge Sheehan confirmed to Fox 8 that he ordered the man placed on suicide watch while inside the county jail, where he would be held before being transferred to a state prison.

"A suicide watch isn't an everyday occurrence, so there was information presented to the judge that warranted this extra supervision to assure what took place wouldn't have happened," said Potash.

Just after midnight Sunday, deputies discovered that the man had hung himself, and died Monday night. Then, Judge Sheehan learned that the jail had not placed him on suicide watch, as instructed.

"I'm looking forward to the cooperation of the county, and the Sheriff's Department as to what took place, what they knew, what they didn't know, why they didn't do what it was that the judge directed them to do," said Potash.

The Cuyahoga County jail and the company that provides its medical services are already being sued by the family of R-and-B singer Sean Levert. He died in March of 2008 after jail workers refused to give him prescription medication.

Meanwhile, the family of the inmate who killed himself are looking for answers too.

"This is a terrible shock to her, and the concern was that once he was remanded into custody that he would be looked after," said Potash.

The Sheriff's Department would not comment about the incident today, but a spokesman says it is under investigation. ..Source.. by

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