Department of Corrections and Community Supervision

New York State
Department of Correctional Services
Glenn S. Goord, Commissioner

Office of Public Information
[518] 457-8182
www.doccs.ny.gov

For immediate release:

Wednesday, October 29, 1997

Eastern Correctional Facility inmate hangs self in cell

An inmate who escaped from a prison bus in July but was recaptured within hours committed suicide today by hanging himself in his cell at the 1,037-bed Eastern Correctional Facility in Napanoch.

Inmate Eron Seeley, 25, was last seen alive in his cell at 12:36 this morning by a Correction Officer making rounds of the 32-cell Special Housing Unit (SHU) in the maximum-security prison. At 1 a.m., an Officer making rounds could not observe Seeley in his cell. Because Seeley has a history of attacking Officers, the Officer appropriately summoned assistance before the cell door was opened. The Officer and a responding Sergeant entered the cell and found the inmate hanging in a "blind spot" to the left of the cell door. The inmate had hung himself with shoelaces and part of a sheet tied to an overhead air duct. Attempts to revive him were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead at Ellenville Community Hospital at 2:35 a.m. An autopsy will be performed to determine the official cause of death.

Seeley was being held in Eastern's SHU because of disciplinary infractions. They included Seeley's July 30 escape while he and 13 other inmates were being transported from Shawangunk Correctional Facility in Wallkill to the Sullivan Correctional Facility in Fallsburg. After escaping from the bus, Seeley stole a car in Walden and led law enforcement authorities on a 73-mile chase through two states. He was captured later the same day on Interstate 84 in Milford, Pa.

Besides facing criminal charges, a prison disciplinary hearing on the escape led to a penalty of 10 years' confinement in the SHU. Inmates serving disciplinary sentences are confined to their cells 24 hours each day, except for legal, family/friend or medical visits and one hour of court-mandated recreation. After his recapture, while confined to his cell, Seeley cut two Officers with a razor blade. That led to an additional eight years of SHU time. Seeley was also facing prison disciplinary charges and potential criminal charges for having thrown feces at Officers on two occasions.

Seeley was serving a term of 28½ years to life for four 1993 convictions out of Westchester County -- second-degree murder, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, first-degree reckless endangerment and fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. He faced additional prison time as a result of escape charges. Seeley was received into the state prison system on May 24, 1993. He had been at Eastern since August 25. He would have been eligible for parole in 2020.

Seeley's is the eighth suicide this year in a New York State prison. The last suicide, also a hanging, occurred Oct. 4 at Attica Correctional Facility in Wyoming County. The last suicide at Eastern, also a hanging, occurred June 22, 1994. There were 12 suicides in the prison system last year.