Family Receives $2.25M Settlement in Hot Cell Death

Family Receives $2.25M Settlement in Hot Cell Death

In February, Jerome Murdough was found dead in a Rikers Island jail cell with an internal body temperature of 103 degrees.

Published November 3, 2014

The mother of a mentally ill inmate who died earlier this year in a 101-degree jail cell recently reached a $2.25 million settlement with the city of New York, the comptroller said.

A homeless former U.S. Marine suffering from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, Jerome Murdough was sent to Rikers Island jail in February on a misdemeanor trespassing arrest after being unable to pay a $2,500 bail.

A week later, the 56-year-old Black man was found dead inside a mental observation unit with a pool of vomit and blood on the floor and an internal body temperature of 103 degrees, AP reports. Officials say he was unsupervised for at least four hours.

“Following a thorough review of the claim and facts of this case, my office has reached a settlement with the estate of Jerome Murdough,” City Comptroller Scott Stringer said. “A mother lost a son, the city lost a citizen. It is my hope that this settlement provides some small measure of closure for the family of Mr. Murdough. The expedited resolution of this case is in the best interest of all parties.”

“On behalf of the city, I am sorry for your loss,” Stringer told his mother, Alma Murdough.

According to AP, Alma had filed initial papers to sue the city for $25 million over her son’s death.

“This is a very awful thing I’m going through,” she said. “I’m sorry I cannot say any more.”

The medical examiner ruled Murdough’s death was caused by "hyperthermia due to environmental exposure to heat,” as well as his medication, which experts say can cause heat sensitivity. The death was ruled accidental and the city has avoided any possible liability allegations through the settlement.

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(Photo: AP Photo/Jason DeCrow, File)

Written by Patrice Peck

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