Warden at Rikers Island facility transferred after death of inma - New York News

Warden at Rikers Island facility transferred after death of inmate in hot cell

Posted: Updated:
Jerome Murdough, a mentally ill, homeless former Marine arrested for sleeping in the roof landing of a public housing project during one of the coldest recorded winters in city history, died in a Rikers Island jail cell. (AP photo/Jason DeCrow) Jerome Murdough, a mentally ill, homeless former Marine arrested for sleeping in the roof landing of a public housing project during one of the coldest recorded winters in city history, died in a Rikers Island jail cell. (AP photo/Jason DeCrow)

By JAKE PEARSON | AP

NEW YORK (AP) -- The warden of the 2,100-inmate New York City jail where a mentally ill veteran "baked to death" in an overheated cell in February has been demoted and transferred to another unit that doesn't house mentally ill inmates.

Rose Argo, the warden in command of the Anna M. Kross Center on Rikers Island, didn't appear to be directly involved or negligent in the death of 56-year-old former Marine Jerome Murdough, but Department of Correction officials said in a statement Thursday that "it does appear that staff did not follow basic procedures."

An internal investigation has also found "overall issues" with the heating system in the jail, the statement said, and the mechanics supervisor there was transferred to a unit that works on projects where no inmates are housed.

An already-suspended correction officer on post when Murdough died also has been suspended another 10 days without pay, the maximum amount allowed under city law, the officials said.

"The department is taking steps to address the breakdown of inadequate procedures, staff performance, and maintenance, to ensure that tragedies such as this never happen again," the statement said.

Prosecutors in the Bronx are also reviewing the case.

Testifying before a City Council hearing last month, Acting Department of Correction Commissioner Mark Cranston said a malfunctioning damper diverted heat to the top level of the two-tier observation unit where Murdough was housed and that a gauge on the lower level, which was calling for the heat, failed to register the high temperature on the upper level.

Officials told The Associated Press that Murdough, whose family said suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, was found dead in a cell that was overheated to at least 100 degrees. One official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because that person was not authorized to discuss specifics of the case, said Murdough "basically baked to death."

Murdough, who was on anti-psychotic and anti-seizure medication, was found dead in the early hours of Feb. 15, four city officials told the AP. More tests are needed to determine exactly how he died, the medical examiner's office said. But the officials, all with detailed knowledge of the case, said preliminary findings point to extreme dehydration.

He was not checked on for at least four hours and didn't open a small vent-like window in his cell to let in cool air, Cranston testified.

Murdough was arrested on a misdemeanor trespassing charge on the night of Feb. 14 after police found him sleeping in the stairwell of a public housing building and was sent to Rikers Island after being unable to post $2,500 bail, according to court records.

Murdough was a private first class in the Marine Corps who served from 1975 to 1978 as a field artillery batteryman.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Aire Ancient Baths

    A relaxing bathhouse in busy Tribeca

    A relaxing bathhouse in busy Tribeca

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 10:29 PM EDT2014-07-30 02:29:51 GMT
    Deep beneath the hustle and bustle of Tribeca lies a modern-day oasis brimming with old world charm: Aire Ancient Baths, my new favorite city escape. The breathtaking spa is illuminated by hundreds of candles and smells of invigorating eucalyptus. For around $80 you can bathe in the tranquil blue pools for 90 minutes and find the temperature that's right for you.
    Deep beneath the hustle and bustle of Tribeca lies a modern-day oasis brimming with old world charm: Aire Ancient Baths, my new favorite city escape. The breathtaking spa is illuminated by hundreds of candles and smells of invigorating eucalyptus. For around $80 you can bathe in the tranquil blue pools for 90 minutes and find the temperature that's right for you.
  • NYC stores with no signs feed curiosity

    NYC stores with no signs feed curiosity

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 8:40 PM EDT2014-07-30 00:40:09 GMT
    From coffee shops in Brooklyn to restaurants in Manhattan, we find speakeasies standing out by blending in. When people in Bushwick want a green machine juice blend they visit Leticia Castillo's Owl Juice Pub. But first they must find the owl. "We been doing fine without a sign," Castillo says.
    From coffee shops in Brooklyn to restaurants in Manhattan, we find speakeasies standing out by blending in. When people in Bushwick want a green machine juice blend they visit Leticia Castillo's Owl Juice Pub. But first they must find the owl. "We been doing fine without a sign," Castillo says.
  • NY brothers invent machine that makes CPR easier

    NY brothers invent machine that makes CPR easier

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 6:40 PM EDT2014-07-29 22:40:57 GMT
    Only 10 percent of people who get CPR from a bystander actually survive. But two young men in Westchester County have now patented a device that could dramatically increase those odds and save lives. John and Chris DiCapua's sitting room in their parents' Westchester County home has had a unique guest lying around for quite a while now: a CPR dummy. What began as an idea from their time as Boy Scouts is now a device that could potentially save lives.
    Only 10 percent of people who get CPR from a bystander actually survive. But two young men in Westchester County have now patented a device that could dramatically increase those odds and save lives. John and Chris DiCapua's sitting room in their parents' Westchester County home has had a unique guest lying around for quite a while now: a CPR dummy. What began as an idea from their time as Boy Scouts is now a device that could potentially save lives.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices