July 01, 2008


Did it sound different? Instead of the measured footfalls of a solitary guard checking--every half hour--to make certain that the prisoner on suicide watch was all right, did the alleged cop killer hear voices in the shadows which changed to panting, steps quickening as many men rushed the cell? What did they say to the man they condemned?

Or was it the same as it had been for the past 34 hours -- the same monotonous footfalls as the guard approached. Perhaps this time he stopped, offered a kind word, opened the cell door -- your mother wants to see you -- and then put his hands around Ronnie White's neck and strangled him:

A 19-year-old man suspected of killing a Prince George's County police officer was strangled in the county jail two days after his arrest, the state medical examiner's office concluded yesterday.

Ronnie L. White, who was found unresponsive Sunday morning, died of asphyxiation, and two small bones in his neck were broken, according to preliminary autopsy findings. Officials offered no theories about who might have killed him.

An earlier report of White's death noted the apparent lack of a cause of death:

White, of the 9100 block of Tumbleweed Run in the Laurel area of Howard County, had been charged with first-degree murder in Friday's death of Cpl. Richard S. Findley, 39. Two men in a pickup police believe was stolen hit Findley as they fled an apartment complex in Laurel. Police say White was the driver. Findley suffered massive head trauma and died a short time later.

Col. Gregory O. Harris, deputy director of operations for the county's Corrections Department, said he could not rule out the possibility that White committed suicide, but he stressed that there were no visible signs of trauma on him. He also said White had passed a medical and psychological evaluation when he entered the Upper Marlboro jail early Saturday and at that time "showed no signs of suicide or depression at all."

White weighs about what I do -- 140 pounds -- and at 5-10 he's an inch taller than I am. A single powerful man, whom White did not suspect, would most likely be able to subdue and strangle him, perhaps with an implement, perhaps with his bare hands.

It is rather depressing to read the Post's feckless account of White's last hours. Where was he being held? What was the corridor like? What interaction could there have been between White and his murderer?

Posted by Ideofact at July 1, 2008 12:26 AM