The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


August 14, 2013

Northumberland County inmate dies by hanging

SUNBURY —  A Northumberland County inmate — who other prisoners claim had asked to be placed in protective custody — was found hanging in a cell he shared with another inmate. After being rushed to Sunbury Community Hospital, the unidentified prisoner was pronounced dead Tuesday night.

The hanging was discovered at 5:49 p.m. Responders rushed to the prison to try and revive the man, who is not being identified because his next-of-kin had not been notified. The prisoner was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Northumberland County Coroner James Kelley confirmed the death and said his office was investigating. The death is not being labeled as suspicious at this time, Kelley said.

Warden Roy Johnson said he was told by other inmates that the man had asked to be placed in protective custody, but Johnson said he has not seen any documents that support that claim.

“I have been hearing that from inmates, but I am doing an investigation, and as of the time I left work today, I was not made aware of any such thing,” he said. “All of what we are hearing is part of the investigation.”

Johnson did not say if the cellmate was being interviewed by police.

Johnson was called back to the prison after the hanging was discovered and said he had been in touch with commissioners regarding the investigation.

Johnson did not say whether the prison had video surveillance of the hanging.

The man had been recently incarcerated and had served about a month of his sentence. Johnson was not sure of how long the man was to be incarcerated.

Northumberland County Commissioner Steve Bridy, the prison board chairman, declined to comment until after an investigation is complete.

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