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Jail Superintendent: Inmate found hanging from end of bed sheet

Posted at: 11/15/2012 4:29 PM
Updated at: 11/15/2012 5:21 PM
By: Berkeley Brean

Normally we don't report suicides. But News10NBC determined the situation changes when the person who does it is in the Monroe County Jail charged with a violent felony. That's what happened with Jerome Tavolino.

He died at Strong Hospital yesterday after he hanged himself in his jail cell Monday. Today we spoke with the jail superintendent and asked him how something like this could happen.

Part of the answer is that it is rare in the Monroe County Jail. The last one was in April and that was the first suicide in more than six years.

The situation with Tavolino is that he was in jail charged with arson. The police said he set fire to his house on Kilmar Street trapping his girlfriend's 11 year old son and the couple's 3 year old daughter. The boy was able to reach his sister and both of them escaped.

The jail superintendent told me that Tavolino was found hanging from the end of a bed sheet. He had somehow managed to tie it up high on one of the bars in his cell. Several inmates saw Tavolino and yelled to a deputy. Two deputies ran to him and were able to cut him down.

It was around 5:30 in the morning.

Tavolino died at Strong yesterday. The jail superintendent says inmate suicide is one of their biggest fears.

"Usually you see it within the first 72 hours of someone incarcerated," Ronald Harling said. "When an inmate comes to jail they're full of emotion, guilt, shame, anger, frustration. Many times intoxicated or on a mood altering substance. There are a whole lot of dynamics and its one of the things we take very seriously."

The superintendent says his jail deputies make rounds every 30 minutes. He says what they've seen is that inmates start to understand the routine and attempt their suicide just after the deputy comes around.