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Serial Killer on Death Row Commits Suicide

Posted November. 23, 2009 09:11,   


A convicted serial murderer on death row committed suicide yesterday by hanging himself in his prison cell.

The Justice Ministry said Jeong Nam-gyu, 40, died at 2:40 a.m. in the hospital after he was found to have hanged himself in his solitary cell at the Seoul Detention House in Uiwang, a southern suburb.

He hung himself with a make-shift rope made from plastic trash bags, tying it on a strut on his cell’s wall where a television was installed, the ministry said.

He was placed in the intensive care unit of a hospital shortly after a prison guard found him around 6:35 a.m. Saturday. He recovered his breath and pulse at one point but his condition deteriorated around midnight.

Doctors tried to revive Jeong with cardiopulmonary resuscitation overnight but pronounced him dead early yesterday.

Jeong had received the death sentence in April 2007 for killing 13 people and injuring seven between January 2004 and April 2006, including women and children he sexually assaulted.

His death was the first suicide by a death row inmate since February 2007, when an inmate convicted for murder hung himself with a strap from his sleeping bag in his prison cell.

Doctors who treated Jeong said he died of a heart attack and lack of oxygen to the brain. The ministry will have the National Institute of Scientific Investigation perform an autopsy.

Jeong left no will but wrote a memo on a notepad saying the government has no intention of abolishing capital punishment. “Life is like a cloud,” he wrote.

Based on the notes, the ministry said he apparently killed himself because of anxiety over public opinion urging the enforcement of death sentences.