NATIONAL NEWS

Former NYC jail guards avoid prison time for 8-minute delay in helping inmate who attempted suicide

Oct 28, 2023, 12:30 PM | Updated: 1:14 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — Two former New York City jail guards have avoided prison time for what authorities called their failure to intervene in a teenage inmate’s suicide attempt for nearly eight minutes until it was too late to save him from serious brain damage in 2019.

Daniel Fullerton and Mark Wilson received conditional discharges after pleading guilty to misdemeanor official misconduct in May and September, respectively, the Daily News reported Friday. They will not serve any time in jail if they stay out of trouble for a year.

Fullerton, Wilson and two other officers were charged in connection with 18-year-old Nicholas Feliciano’s suicide attempt at the Rikers Island jail complex on Nov. 27, 2019. The other officers’ cases remain pending. Feliciano suffered permanent brain damage and needs long-term medical care.

Prosecutors said jail guards were seen on surveillance video walking past Feliciano and taking no action for seven minutes and 51 seconds. An investigation report by the city Board of Correction later found that the officers believed Feliciano was faking a suicide attempt.

The report also says Feliciano had a history of depression and previously had tried to harm himself in jail on multiple occasions. He was at Rikers on a parole violation connected to robbery cases. It recommended several actions, including a system to immediately identify people with prior histories of self-harm while in jail and a reevaluation of mental health training for guards.

The Bronx district attorney’s office issued a statement when the guards were indicted but did not publicly announce Fullerton and Wilson’s guilty pleas and sentences, the Daily News reported. All the guards were initially charged with misdemeanor official misconduct and felony reckless endangerment, which can carry up to seven years in prison.

David Rankin, a lawyer for Feliciano’s family, said they are “gratified” that the two guards took responsibility in pleading guilty. But he added, “It is shocking you can just let someone almost die and you don’t get so much as community service.”

The Bronx district attorney’s office declined to comment.

Contact information for Fullerton and Wilson could not be immediately found in public records Saturday.

Fullerton’s lawyer, Kenneth Montgomery, said Fullerton took immediate action when he saw Feliciano in distress and called the prosecution “heavy-handed.”

“I just thought it was political and overkill,” he said in a phone interview Saturday with The Associated Press.

Information about Wilson’s case and his lawyer was not listed in online court records. Fullerton quit the Correction Department and Wilson was fired, the Daily News reported.

The Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association also has called the officers’ indictments politically motivated and called on prosecutors to charge inmates who assault guards.

The Rikers Island complex has been criticized in multiple reports for inmate deaths, violence, mold and other problems. In August, a federal judge agreed to begin a process that could wrest control of the city’s troubled jail system from Mayor Eric Adams and place a court-appointed outside authority in charge of Rikers Island.

National News

Associated Press

Several gun bills inspired by mass shooting are headed for final passage in Maine

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A series of gun safety bills introduced after the deadliest shooting in Maine history appears to be headed toward final passage as the state Legislature races to wrap up its session this week. The House followed the Senate on Monday in approving the governor’s omnibus gun safety bill that strengthens the […]

46 minutes ago

Image: Former President Donald Trump speaks to the press in Manhattan state court in New York City ...

Associated Press

Trump’s hush money trial gets underway; 1st day ends without any jurors selected

The historic hush money trial of Donald Trump got underway Monday with the arduous process of selecting a jury to hear the case.

11 hours ago

Associated Press

Abu Ghraib detainee shares emotional testimony during trial against Virginia military contractor

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A former detainee at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison described to jurors Monday the type of abuse that is reminiscent of the scandal that erupted there 20 years ago: beatings, being stripped naked and threatened with dogs, stress positions meant to induce exhaustion and pain. The testimony from Salah Al-Ejaili, a […]

11 hours ago

Associated Press

Judge orders psych evaluation for Illinois man charged in 4 killings

ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) — A judge on Monday ordered a psychiatric evaluation for a northern Illinois man charged with killing four people and injuring seven others by stabbing, beating and driving over them. Winnebago County Judge Debra Schafer ordered the evaluation for Christian Soto when the 22-year-old man appeared in court by video link for […]

12 hours ago

Associated Press

Paris Hilton backs California bill to bring more transparency to youth treatment facilities

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Paris Hilton joined California state lawmakers Monday to push for legislation aimed at cracking down on the industry that cares for troubled teens by requiring more transparency from youth treatment facilities. The bill supported by the Hilton Hotel heiress and media personality aims to pry open information on how short-term residential […]

14 hours ago

Associated Press

California officials sue Huntington Beach over voter ID law passed at polls

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (AP) — California officials on Monday sued Huntington Beach over a new law that lets the city require voters to provide identification to cast ballots at the polls starting in 2026. The state’s Attorney General Rob Bonta said the measure approved by voters in the Southern California city of nearly 200,000 people […]

15 hours ago

Former NYC jail guards avoid prison time for 8-minute delay in helping inmate who attempted suicide