NEW YORK – A New York City official tells The Associated Press that a mentally ill homeless veteran who died behind bars last month “essentially baked to death” in a jail cell that overheated to more than 100 degrees.
Fifty-six-year-old Jerome Murdough had been charged with trespassing and placed in an observation unit for inmates with mental illnesses at Rikers Island.
Four city officials said Murdough, who took anti-psychotic and anti-seizure medication, apparently did not open a small vent to let cool air into his cell, as other inmates did. Officials also said he was not checked for hours, in violation of department protocol.
The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation by the city’s Department of Correction.