A Bronx man who died in an upstate prison and buried without his family knowing was driven to kill himself by corrections officers, an inmate said.
Lonnie L. Hamilton hanged himself inside his cell in Marcy in March, NY1 reported, but his family did not learn about his death until May. After not reaching Hamilton, a concerned family member checked the Department of Corrections website and learned that the 22-year-old inmate had been dead for two months.
A formerinmate who said he was in solitary confinement with Hamilton told NY1 that corrections officers took off Hamilton’s clothes, sprayed him with a fire extinguisher and teased him.
“I woke up to him screaming, yelling like, ‘Why y’all wetting my cell? Why y’all wetting my cell?’ And they sprayed the fire extinguisher in there and turned the AC on,” the former inmate, who asked to remain anonymous, told NY1. “So I get on my gate and I see them walking out like through the other side of the door through the crack of the door and then like he like, ‘Y’all wetting my cell?’’’
“Now he’s calling to speak to the lieutenant or somebody. … The police was like, ‘Save your breath, ain’t you about to kill yourself?’ They kept telling him like, ‘Ain’t you gonna kill yourself?’ And they like talking about his sisters and family and stuff like that.”
Hamilton was placed on suicide watch two days before his death after threatening to kill himself, NY1 reported exclusively. Zachary Giampa, the family’s attorney, said Hamilton was on four antidepressants at the time of his death.
According to New York State Department of Corrections, Hamilton was serving time for two counts of robbery.
According to NY1, the Department of Corrections declined to comment on what it called an ongoing investigation.