Jail Inmate Dies Of Injuries From His Hanging Attempt

TAMPA – A 28-year-old man who tried to hang himself with a bedsheet at Falkenburg Road Jail this week has died, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

Raphael Lopez was scheduled for trial Oct. 6 for felony burglary and misdemeanor criminal mischief, online court records show.

Tampa General Hospital notified the sheriff’s office Friday that Lopez had died, sheriff’s spokeswoman Debbie Carter said. Lopez had been in critical condition at the hospital since Monday evening when a detention deputy found him hanging by a bedsheet attached to a doorjamb.

Carter said Lopez had been held in administrative confinement at the jail, meaning he was in a single cell in an area of 16 cells. He was not under any special watch or restrictions. “There was no problem with him being in a cell,” Carter said.

Lopez had been found competent to proceed in May after being found incompetent to stand trial a year ago, court records show. Chris Watson, felony bureau chief of the Hillsborough County Public Defender’s office, said Lopez’s public defender did not think Lopez was in danger of harming himself.

The criminal charges stem from a Feb. 2, 2007, arrest after a resident in the 10000 block of North Annette Avenue tackled Lopez in his fenced yard, according to Tampa police. The resident’s burglar alarm was triggered about 1:30 that morning, and when he investigated, he found a man later identified as Lopez.

The resident reported that Lopez was standing outside his 10-year-old son’s bedroom window and had pried up the screen, according to a police report. Lopez’s jeans were unbuttoned, and he was wearing no underwear, the police report states.

Lopez was found incompetent to stand trial in May 2007 and was committed to a state hospital for competency training, online court records show. The case was reopened in March.

Lopez was re-evaluated and deemed competent to proceed on May 5.

Competency training involves a person understanding his charges, his lawyer’s role and other basics of the legal process, Watson said.

source: http://www2.tbo.com/content/2008/sep/06/me-jail-inmate-dies-of-injuries-from-his-hanging-a/news-breaking/

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