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Rikers Island Officer Arrested After Failing to Check On Mentally Ill Ex-Marine Inmate Who ‘Baked To Death’

rikersTen months after a homeless ex-Marine died in his overheated cell at Rikers Island, the officer who failed to check on his welfare was arrested, prosecutors said Monday.

The temperature of Jerome Murdough’s jail cell had reached at least 100 degrees, according to published reports. Murdough was on anti-psychotic and anti-seizure medication, which could have contributed to his vulnerability to the heat.

“He basically baked to death,” an official told the Associated Press.

Carol Lackner, the officer who was supposed to be monitoring the inmates, faces multiple counts of falsifying business records and official misconduct for making false logbook entries.

Prosecutors at the arraignment hearing on Monday said that after her shift was over, Lackner wrote in the Corrections Department logbook that she made six tours of the mental health observation unit despite the video showing otherwise, The New York Times reported.

Not long after Lackner’s shift ended on Feb. 15, Murdough was found lying unconscious in his own blood and vomit.

After his death, Lackner was suspended for 30 days and placed on modified duty, preventing her from interacting with inmates.

She is the only person to face criminal charges for Murdough’s death, according to The Times. Lackner pleaded not guilty at her arraignment Monday and wants her day in court.

“She intends to go to trial and she will prove her innocence,” Damond Carter, Lackner’s lawyer, said during the arraignment hearing. She testified that she worked from 3:00 p.m. to 11 p.m. at another jail before being called to work overtime at the mental health observation unit, according to The Times. Lackner said that the officer she relieved didn’t make her aware of any problems and that she heard nothing while sitting near Murdough’s cell for two hours before she left at 2:20 a.m.

Lackner is facing up to four years for the charges against her and is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 17, 2015.

Murdough’s family wasn’t aware of his death until the AP contacted them almost a month after his death.

Last month, New York City agreed to a $2.25 million settlement to resolve the wrongful death claim filed by Murdough’s mother, Alma Murdough.

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