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Rikers Island inmate 'baked to death' in cell overheated at least 100 degrees: report

A city inmate was "baked to death" last month in a jail cell at Rikers Island overheated at least 100 degrees, according to a report.

A view of buildings at the Rikers Island penitentiary complex, where a man was "baked to death" in a jail cell, according to an Associated Press report.  Credit: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images A view of buildings at the Rikers Island penitentiary complex, where a man was "baked to death" in a jail cell, according to an Associated Press report.
Credit: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

A city inmate was "baked to death" in an overheated jail cell at Rikers Island last month, according to a report.

Officials told the Associated Press that the body of Jerome Murdough, 56, was found dead in a cell that overheated to at least 100 degrees, likely because of malfunctioning equipment.

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The former Marine was found in a cell in the mental-oberservation unit around 2:30 a.m. on Feb. 15. The temperature of the cell and his internal temperature were at least 100 degrees, according to the AP.

"He basically baked to death," one of the officials said.

An autopsy was inconclusive, but officials told the AP that anti-psychotic and anti-seizure medication Murdough was on could have made him more vulnerable to heat. He also didn't open a small vent in his cell.

About a week before he was found dead, Murdough was arrested and charged with trespassing after sleeping in an enclosed stairwell on the roof of a public housing project in Harlem during a cold night.

A Department of Correction spokesman said that an internal investigation will review the circumstances of Murdough's death but acknowledged the temperature in his cell was "unusually high," according the the AP.

The officials spoke the AP on the condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the investigation.

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter @AnnaESanders

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