CHICAGO - Authorities in California are so concerned that one of the men charged in a brutal River North stabbing attack may try to kill himself that they have clothed him in a special anti-suicide smock.
Andrew Warren, a financial officer at England's Oxford University, was on the run with a Northwestern professor for about a week before they surrendered Friday to authorities in northern California. Also charged is Northwestern University's Wyndham Lathem. The men are accused of stabbing Trenton Cornell-Duranleau in Lathem's River North apartment on July 27.
On Monday afternoon a mugshot of Warren provided by San Francisco County jail officials shows the 48 year old murder suspect in a green ribbed smock with Velcro attachments.
Although not apparent in the head and shoulders photo of Warren, the smock extends to shin-level and is made of non-flammable material that also cannot be cut and fashioned into a noose. Warren has a court appearance set for later this week in San Francisco.
"Custodial suicide" is the number one cause of death for incarcerated individuals in U.S. county jails according to information obtained by the I-Team. The most recent Federal Bureau of Justice statistics shows the per capita number of suicides in county jails is more than three times higher than for the general population. Between 2000 and 2014, there were nearly 4600 suicides reported in local jails.
The "suicide safety smock," first used in the Santa Cruz, California county jail 30 years ago, is now commercially available for less than $300.
While not usually seen in metro Chicago mugshots, Cook County jail officials say they do have the smocks and use them when appropriate. Cook County jail also has counter-suicide blankets that may be given to certain inmates, according to Cara Smith, the sheriff's chief policy advisor.
Three suspects in the 2007 killing of NFL star Sean Taylor were seen in custody in Miami wearing the smocks.
Prisoners who commit suicide usually use bedding or clothing. The smocks made out of quilted nylon are especially tough said to be 10 times stronger than blue jeans and can't be torn or rolled up. Some detainees at Guantanamo have been seen wearing the anti-suicide clothing.