Prison Guard Arrested After Watching Inmate Hang Himself In His Cell

By Bill Galluccio

April 27, 2021

A New York City prison guard is under arrest for allegedly standing by and doing nothing as an inmate committed suicide in his jail cell. Ryan Wilson, who had been a prisoner at Manhattan Detention Complex for about a month, was ordered to be transferred to another housing unit by Captain Rebecca Hillman after he got into an argument with another inmate.

While waiting for the transfer, Wilson threatened to hang himself and tied the bedsheet into a noose. Another guard radioed Hilman for assistance, but she did not come immediately. After ten minutes, Wilson draped the noose over the light fixture, tied it around his neck, and jumped off the bed.

The other guard asked to open the cell door, but Hilman said to keep it closed, claiming that Wilson was just "playing." After about a minute, she ordered the guard to open the door but wouldn't let him provide medical aid to Wilson.

Hilman then called for non-emergency backup and left Wilson hanging from the light fixture until paramedics arrived. By the time the medical team showed up, it had been 15 minutes, and Wilson was pronounced dead.

"The death of Ryan Wilson wasn't just a tragedy -- it was a crime," Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said. "Our investigation shows that Captain Hillman ordered her subordinates not to take potentially life-saving measures to help Mr. Wilson and failed to call for medical assistance expediently."

Hillman, 38, was taken into custody and charged with negligent homicide and offering a false instrument for filing. In her report about the incident, Hilman claimed that she immediately ordered the guard to open Wilson's cell and cut him down.

Hilman pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released because the charges are not bail-eligible.

"This callous disregard for Mr. Wilson's safety resulted in an irreversible loss to his family and friends and must be held criminally accountable," Vance said.

Photo: Getty Images

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