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Man Considered Suicidal Found Hanged in Orange County Jail

A 19-year-old inmate considered a suicide risk apparently hanged himself in a psychiatric observation cell at the Orange County Jail early Tuesday, authorities said.

Paul Allen Pinkerton, who last January escaped from Metropolitan State Hospital in Norwalk, was to appear in juvenile court Tuesday for sentencing on a burglary charge to which he pleaded guilty, according to one of his attorneys.

Authorities said Pinkerton was found by jail medical staff members at 1:15 a.m. hanging from a noose fashioned from bed sheets and tied to an overhead bathroom drainpipe.

According to Assistant Dist. Atty. Jim Enright, one of two medical facility staff members on duty had checked Pinkerton at 1 a.m. and found him lying on his bunk.

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Eleven other inmates under psychiatric scrutiny--one of them a murder defendant--also were in the cell at the time of the hanging, Enright said.

It was not known, Enright said, whether the hanging was seen by the other inmates, some of whom may have been sleeping out of sight of the bathroom area.

According to Enright, his attorneys and police investigators , Pinkerton was emotionally troubled and had a history of criminal arrests and was potentially suicidal.

Pinkerton was sent to the hospital in Norwalk last year after he threatened to jump off the roof of the Orange County Jail.

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