Inmate death ruled suicide
COAL TOWNSHIP - A Philadelphia man was identified as the inmate found dead early Saturday at State Correctional Institution-Coal Township.
James F. Kelley, Northumberland County Coroner, said 33-year-old Andrew Howard hanged himself inside a one-man cell. He used a bedsheet tied to a vent, he said.
Howard's death is ruled a suicide.
He was discovered by prison personnel, Kelley said. There were no witnesses. He did leave a note.
There was no videotape of the incident to review. Kelley said he made the suicide determination, in part, by examining marks left on Howard's neck.
"When it's self-inflicted, you have a different type of marking on the neck then you would if somebody had been strangled," Kelley said.
Howard was pronounced dead at 3:29 a.m. Saturday by Chief Deputy Coroner James R. Gotlob.
He was serving time on a parole violation stemming from a robbery charge, Kelley said.
His family was notified of the death. They did not claim his body. It will be cremated, with the cremains offered to the family. If the family does not accept the cremains they are returned to the prison, Kelley said.
Attempts to reach a state Department of Corrections spokesperson on Sunday for further comment were unsuccessful. Trooper Kevin Kearney of state police at Stonington assisted in the investigation, and he also was unavailable Sunday for comment.