Investigators' interviews with correctional officers at a state prison in Tucson, Ariz., suggest that the officers' indifference and lack of basic first aid training allowed an inmate to bleed to death after his second suicide attempt.
The recorded interviews were obtained by KPNX-TV, the NBC affiliate in Phoenix, which has spent much of the past year digging into the suicide of Anthony Clayton Lester, 26, in July 2010.
The station reports that Lester, who was serving a 12-year sentence for aggravated assault, had a long history of mentally illness and had tried to kill himself the previous month. But he was taken off his medications and was removed from a suicide watch two days before his death.
When he was returned to the general prison population, he was issued a standard prison hygiene kit that included a razor — which he used to slit his throat, wrists and groin.
Investigators' interviews with responding officers, aired this week by KPNX, recorded one officer saying he held back from assisting Lester because he didn't want to have to "wallow" in the sheer amount of blood in the cell.
In another recording, an officer is asked about correctional staffers' first aid training. His response: "I had first aid, but I don't consider it as first aid training."
Watch the two-part report by Wendy Halloran of KPNX: