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Death penalty? Inmate suicide precedes child porn indictment

8-9-2011 Virginia:

An inmate, a soldier who allegedly trafficked in violent child pornography, has been found dead in the solitary ward at the Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail. Officials say that Willis E. Coley of Alexandria apparently committed suicide August 2, nearly nine months after his arrest and two weeks away from a federal indictment.

A 27-year-old U.S. Army Specialist, Coley was a military photographer and reporter whose work is featured on numerous websites. But it was his use of another online application that brought the charge that preceded his death. ....

During a search of his apartment, Coley allegedly admitted to possessing the gruesome images and directed FBI agents and police officers to an external computer hard drive that contained additional horrors, including one video of a prepubescent girl getting anally raped.

"The child appears to be crying," states the complaint.

According to the Jail's Lt. Col. Roland Beauford, inmates on the four-cell "segregation" unit which housed Coley– along with accused UVA lacrosse killer George Huguely– spend almost all their time, including mealtime, in the cells, which contain a bed, sink, and toilet. Beauford says the inmates are checked every 30 minutes, and a guard observed that Coley was "fine" during one check, but on the next trip discovered him hanging from a torn bedsheet. Beauford says that revival efforts, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation and the use of an automated external defibrillator, were to no avail.

"Our goal is to keep everyone safe," says Beauford, who notes that Coley was not on suicide watch and had previously been "nondisruptive."

Charged with a single count of transporting child pornography, Coley could have faced up to 20 years in prison if convicted. An investigation into his death, conducted by Albemarle County police, is ongoing. ..Source.. by Courteney Stuart

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