NYC jail captain convicted of negligent homicide two years after inmate committed suicide
A New York City jail guard accused of preventing officers from stopping an inmate from hanging himself was convicted by a jury on Tuesday of negligent homicide.
Rebecca Hillman, now 40, was charged with felony counts, including criminally negligent homicide, following the death of inmate Ryan Wilson at the Manhattan Detention Complex on Nov. 22, 2020.
A press release from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office said on that day, Hillman planned to move Wilson to another housing unit after getting into an argument with another inmate.
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Wilson reportedly remained in his cell before the move, made a noose out of a bedsheet and attached it to a light fixture before calling an officer over, climbing onto a stool and putting the noose around his neck.
He then told the responding officer that he would hang himself if Wilson did not come and let him out herself. The officer tried to calm Wilson down and called Hillman over, but instead, Hillman went to the control room and started filling out paperwork, according to the DA’s office.
Growing impatient, Wilson climbed onto his bed after 10 minutes, started to count down and jumped off the bed in front of the responding officer.
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The officer called for the cell to be opened immediately, so he could cut Wilson down. Instead, Hillman went to the cell and told the officer not to enter, adding that Wilson was “playing around.”
She ordered the cell be closed after looking at him and noticing that he was still breathing, leaving him to hang while she continued to perform her usual duties.
Nearly 15 minutes after Wilson jumped, Hillman agreed to open the cell and requested a medical team go in.
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While the officers waited for medical to arrive, they felt a weak pulse and began chest compressions. Once the medical team arrived, Wilson was dead.
Hillman is scheduled to be sentenced on April 3.
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“Rebecca Hillman failed in her duty to provide for the safety of those under her watch as a Captain of the Department of Correction, causing the death of Ryan Wilson through her inexplicable negligence,” Bragg said. “Incarcerated individuals deserve to have their lives treated with dignity. I cannot imagine the pain that Mr. Wilson’s family and loved ones continue to feel, and I am deeply sorry for their loss.”