Inmate found hanged in jail

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Inmate found hanged in jail Empty Inmate found hanged in jail

Post  Jennie on Fri Jun 27, 2008 8:44 pm

A man facing 2 counts of murder for the shooting deaths of a boy and his uncle was found Tuesday hanging dead in his cell at Potter County jail.

During a prisoner check, officers discovered Marcos Portillo, 21, hanging from a light fixture in his cell around 10:40 p.m. Attempts to resuscitate him failed, Amarillo police reported.

Portillo faced two murder charges in connection with the March 6 shooting deaths of Severo Rodriguez, 11, and his uncle, Jesus Rubio, 44, in an upstairs apartment at 308 N. Lincoln St. in Amarillo. Ricardo Rodriguez, 15, recovered from a gunshot wound to the lower leg.

Portillo made strips from a blanket he had been issued and fashioned a rope from which he was found hanging, police said.

Amarillo police Lt. Gary Trupe of the Potter-Randall Special Crimes Unit said Portillo's death remained under investigation Wednesday, but it appears to be a suicide.

"I don't see anything that indicates anything but a hanging occurred," Trupe said. "I lean toward suicide, but I'm going to wait for the pathologist to confirm that."

Potter County Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Thomas Jones ordered an autopsy for Wednesday in Lubbock.

Trupe said he did not know if Portillo left a suicide note, but investigators were combing through personal items found in his cell.

"He had a lot of papers in there," Trupe said. "We haven't had a chance to go through them."

Acting Potter County Sheriff Ron Boyter said Portillo did not show any signs that he had contemplated suicide.

"He gave no indication that he was in that kind of mood," Boyter said. "These kind of things happen; it can't be avoided. When they're determined like that, it's hard to stop them."

Capt. Roger Haney said many inmates have tried, but only one other prisoner has committed suicide at the facility since it opened in November 1995. A male prisoner killed himself on Dec. 26, 2001, Haney said.

Randall Sims, 47th district attorney, said Portillo's murder case had not gone before a grand jury and no hearing or trial dates had been set.

Sims said Portillo likely would have been tried for a capital offense because he allegedly killed more than one person.

If convicted, Sims said, Portillo "was looking at the death penalty or life without parole."

Sims said Portillo's motive for the shooting was unclear.

However, he said, "Law enforcement's theory is it's got to do with a broken passenger window of a pickup truck that belonged to (Portillo's) brother. He believed someone in the (victims') family had something to do with it."

(source: Amarillo Globe-News)

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