Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hanged teen was in jail for ignoring protection order

BY LAURA RIVERA AND ERIK GERMAN laura.rivera@newsday.com
8:47 PM EST, February 23, 2009

The teenager who apparently hanged himself in his jail cell in Riverhead was there because he wouldn't stop calling his former girlfriend, despite court orders to leave her alone, according to law enforcement officials.

On Jan. 15, Jesse Haszinger, 17, of Lindenhurst, was jailed for repeatedly violating an order of protection that barred him from calling or visiting his former girlfriend, authorities said. He had been out of prison for just a week, after serving two years for breaking into her home.

Officials with the sheriff's department said they had received no indication that Haszinger was a suicide risk.

Suffolk County Court Judge Ralph Gazzillo issued the protection order on Nov. 20, 2007, after Haszinger pleaded guilty to charges that he broke into his former girlfriend's Copiague home and attacked her. Newsday is not identifying her because she is a minor.

Haszinger climbed in the girl's bedroom window, confronted her about their recent breakup, then pounced, according to a statement she gave to police on April 29, 2007.

"Both of his hands were around my neck, he squeezed real hard and hurt my neck real bad," the statement said.

In his statement to police, Haszinger said he'd just come to talk things over. "I wanted to tell her I don't want to be your boyfriend but I still wanted to be your friend," he said in the statement. "All I wanted to do was talk but she wouldn't listen."

Haszinger, then 16, was initially charged with burglary, assault and harassment, but he pleaded guilty to second-degree attempted burglary in a deal that sent him to prison for two years, records show.

Haszinger's lawyer in the case, Jason Bassett of Central Islip, declined to comment.

Haszinger was released on Jan. 8. Haszinger then made several calls between Jan. 11 and 15 in violation of the protection order, said Suffolk district attorney's office spokesman Robert Clifford. Haszinger was charged with second-degree criminal contempt, a misdemeanor, and violation of parole.

At about 9 p.m. Saturday, a correction officer on his rounds found Haszinger hanging from the bars of his jail cell, a piece of bed sheet tied around his neck, according to Chief of Staff Michael Sharkey of the Suffolk Sheriff's Office.

The department's criminal investigations bureau is investigating the death as a suicide, he said. Haszinger's 18th birthday would have been Wednesday.

For more than five weeks, Haszinger was housed in a one-person cell among the general population in a section for minors, Sharkey said.

Haszinger was not on suicide watch, Sharkey said, because the teen had been evaluated by mental health professionals at the jail and found to pose no suicide risk.

Correction officers are required to conduct rounds of each section every 10 minutes, on average, Sharkey said.

When Haszinger was found, prisoners were in their cells for an inmate count, Sharkey said.

Heather Groll, a spokeswoman for the state Division of Parole, said Haszinger violated his parole "by repeatedly attempting to contact a person that he was instructed not to contact."

Hanged teen was in jail for ignoring protection order -- Newsday.com

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's been said that he attempted suicide, it was dismissed and he was placed back in cell without being on a suicide watch.