Officer says suicidal inmate jammed cell lock to avert rescue - Quad-Cities Online: Illinois

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Officer says suicidal inmate jammed cell lock to avert rescue

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Posted: Thursday, September 24, 1998 1:00 am

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) -- A Madison County Jail inmate stuffed some sealing material from a shower into the lock on his cell, preventing jailers from getting to him before he had killed himself, a witness told a coroner's jury.

A sheriff's deputy found Jerry L. Champion hanging from a cellmate's undershirt tied to a bar in his cell.

Sheriff's Lt. Steve Nonn told the jury Wednesday that Champion was on suicide watch Aug. 18, the day he died, because of a previous suicide attempt.

Prisoners on suicide watch are placed in a special area and checked every 15 minutes. There was a 13-minute gap between the last check and the time when Champion was found hanging from the bar, Nonn said.

Authorities said Champion, of Lebanon, was a suspect in the slaying of Paul Stell of Granite City.

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