Suicidal inmate now on constant watch, jail official says

By Seth Koenig, BDN Staff
Posted Aug. 24, 2012, at 4:22 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — A Cumberland County Jail inmate who allegedly attempted to hang himself in his cell using a bed sheet Thursday morning is now under constant watch by jail employees, one of the facility’s top officials said Friday.

Lawrence “Larry” Cox, 50, of Westbrook is being held on theft charges related to a pair of convenience store burglaries in southern Maine.

Steven Butts Jr., captain of operations at the jail, told the Bangor Daily News on Friday that Cox was seen socializing normally with other inmates the day before he allegedly attempted suicide. Cox is being held in the jail’s general population unit, an 86-bed block that includes open areas where inmates can exercise, mingle and eat.

A fellow inmate began to recognize that Cox’s mood took a downturn and discovered the hanging attempt when he came to cheer him up, Butts said Thursday morning.

“I guess he’d seemed kind of down that morning, and so that’s why [his fellow inmate] went to talk to him,” Butts said. “They tend to talk to fellow inmates before they talk to staff.”

After being alerted, corrections officers released Cox from the noose he allegedly had made from his bed sheet and had attached to the top bunk in his cell.

Before Thursday morning, Cox showed no warning signs of being a suicide risk, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office stated. Cox was treated at the facility’s medical unit and spoke with a mental health counselor in the aftermath of the incident, Butts said.

Now he’s on what Butts described Friday as “one-on-one watch.”

“We have an officer sitting there watching him,” Butts said. “That’ll be the case until the medical department clears him.”

Cox is facing charges for his alleged role in a pair of convenience store burglaries in Standish and Cumberland. Cox and Vincent Lombardi II, 39, allegedly were captured on surveillance video stealing the store keys at Pit Stop Fuel in Standish while employees were distracted, and later were pulled over in Westbrook with a car police say was full of Maine State Lottery scratch tickets, cigarettes and cash the duo previously had stolen from J. Brothers Variety in Cumberland.

Cox’s bail is set at $2,560.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/08/24/news/portland/suicidal-inmate-now-on-constant-watch-jail-official-says/ printed on September 17, 2014