A New York City official speaking to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity said that a mentally ill, homeless military veteran “essentially baked to death” in a jail cell last month.
The official said that Jerome Murdough — who had been arrested on a trespassing charge and taken to an observation unit at Rikers Island — was not aware that he had to open a small vent to allow cool air to enter his cell. Murdough took both anti-psychotic and anti-seizure medication, and should have been periodically checked by Department of Corrections officers while in his cell.
He was not, and died in a cell that had overheated to more than 100 degrees.
It is not known which anti-psychotic medication Murdough had been prescribed, but some anti-psychotics — like risperidone — are known to make those who take them more sensitive to extreme heat and more prone to becoming dehydrated.
Scott Eric Kaufman is the proprietor of the AV Club's Internet Film School and, in addition to Raw Story, also writes for Lawyers, Guns & Money. He earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California, Irvine in 2008.
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