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A city correction officer has been charged in connection to the suicide of an inmate who died in a lower Manhattan cell last year — after she ordered her subordinates not to help him, authorities said.
Capt. Rebecca Hillman turned herself in to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office Monday before pleading not guilty to one count each of criminally negligent homicide and offering a false instrument for filing. The charges are not bail-eligible, and she was released.
The inmate, 29-year-old Ryan Wilson, was locked up at the Manhattan Detention Complex, also known as The Tombs, on a parole violation and robbery charges when he allegedly threatened to hang himself Nov. 22.
Wilson fashioned a noose out of bedsheets and attached it to a light fixture in his cell then called over a correction officer. He allegedly climbed onto a stool, placed the makeshift noose around his neck and told the officer he’d kill himself if Hillman didn’t let him out, authorities said.
The officer reported the alarming statement to Hillman, who took no action, court papers allege.
Wilson climbed onto his bed and began a countdown before jumping off. The officer called for the cell to be opened immediately so he could cut him down. A few minutes later, Hillman emerged and told the other inmates that Wilson was just “playing.”
When the door finally opened, Hillman barred the officer from entering the cell and claimed that Wilson was faking the incident because he was still breathing.
“At this point, Hillman called for non-emergency backup and ordered the door closed while Mr. Wilson remained hanging inside of the locked cell,” according to the press release from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
A total of 15 minutes elapsed before Hillman finally called for a medical team, authorities said. By the time they arrived, Wilson was dead.
Afterward, Hillman allegedly filed an official report that falsely claimed she’d ordered the cell door opened immediately and had Wilson cut down, according to prosecutors.
“The death of Ryan Wilson wasn’t just a tragedy — it was a crime,” said DA Cyrus Vance Jr. in a statement.
The DOC didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
“She pled not guilty,” said Hillman’s defense lawyer Kenneth Montgomery. “This is not something that is going to be tried in the papers.”
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