Archive for Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Agencies probe hanging in jail

Sheriff, FBI look into man’s death

January 28, 2004

County and state law enforcement officials are investigating the hanging death of a Kansas City, Kan., man in the Leavenworth County Jail.

According to Lt. Pat Sparks, who has been in charge of the jail for eight years, William G. Krisman, 46, was booked into the jail about 2:50 a.m. Jan. 18 on charges of felony DUI and driving with a revoked license. Sparks explained that a felony DUI charge means the alleged DUI was at least the driver's third DUI.

Krisman, a Kansas City, Kan., firefighter, was stopped by sheriff's officers on U.S. Highway 73 north of Leavenworth.

Sheriff Herb Nye said officers and jailers had no indication Krisman might harm himself.

"He was cooperative, and we had no problems," Nye said.

He said Krisman went to bed after he was booked in and ate breakfast after he woke up.

"A couple of hours later, we found him dead in his cell by hanging," Nye said. "He tied a sheet to the bottom of the top bunk and just kind of twisted himself into position and that was it. Other inmates in the pod brought it to our attention."

Nye said he launched an internal investigation and also asked the Kansas Bureau of Investigation to conduct its own probe.

"There was no rhyme nor reason why this guy did this," Nye said. "Nothing led us to believe this was going to happen."

Sparks said that if officers or jailers had thought Krisman might harm himself, they would have taken steps to prevent it.

Nye said there is no set timetable for the completion of the investigations into Krisman's death.

"Sometimes these things go on for months," he said. "This one seemed pretty open and shut to me."

Nye said this is the first hanging in the justice center, which opened in 2000.

It, however, is not the first inmate death at the jail.

Gerald Connel, 50, Leavenworth, died April 14, 2003, from apparent natural causes he sustained either in a fall at the jail or before he was booked in on charges of failure to appear, DUI, having an open container and violation of restrictions on a driver's license, according to Sparks.

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