A New York City Department of Corrections officer was criminally charged Monday with lying about not leaving her post while an inmate “baked to death” in his 101-degree Farenheit Rikers Island jail cell earlier this year, the New York Daily News reports.
Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson charged Carol Lackner, 35, with falsifying business records, filing a false instrument and official misconduct in connection with the Feb. 15 death of former homeless U.S. Marine Jerome Murdough (pictured), 56, the News writes.
The New York Daily News reports:
She was suspended for 30 days by the city Correction Department earlier this year after Lackner pled not guilty during her arraignment Monday morning and was released without bail. She faces up to four years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge.
The guard turned down a plea offer to accept a misdemeanor offense and resign from the department, an assistant district attorney told the News. Her lawyer, Damond Carter, says Lackner intends to go to trial and prove her innocence, the report says.
But a department investigation into Murdough’s death alleges that Lackner abandoned her for post 20 minutes before the veteran was found slumped at the foot of his bed with vomit and blood on the floor, the News writes. Temperatures in the cell soared as high as 101-degress Fahrenheit.
Murdough, who was homeless and suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, had “basically baked to death” as he went unchecked by jail guards for at least four hours, a city official told the Associated Press.
His cell was boiling hot due to a mechanical malfunction that was scheduled to be repaired, department records show.
In October, the city paid $2.25 million to Murdough’s mother in a settlement. She also received an apology.
“On behalf of the City of New York, I’m sorry, Ms. [Alma] Murdough, for your loss,” city Controller Scott Stringer said. “I hope that in some small measure, it will provide closure for Mrs. Murdough and her family.”
Lackner is scheduled to return to court Feb. 17.
Read more at the New York Daily News.