Suicide Or Murder? Dead Inmate's Family Raises Questions

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Overcrowding at the Jefferson County Jail sent assault convict Demearle Gulledge to be housed at the Albany County Jail.

Officials say that's where he hanged himself with a bed sheet Saturday morning.

"An autopsy was performed Saturday morning about 11 o'clock and it was declared it was a suicide and asphyxiation," said Jefferson County Sheriff John Burns.

Burns doesn't blame Albany County jail; he says it could have happened anywhere.

"Absolutely no inmate has a belt, shoelaces, any kind of rope, twine. But we do have to provide them with bed sheets, things like that."

But Gulledge's family members don't believe he killed himself.

They think he was murdered and they plan to talk to a civil rights attorney.

Gulledge's widow, brother and mother-in-law picked up his belongings at the Jefferson County Jail on Monday.

All of them said Gulledge wouldn't commit suicide with just a few months left on his sentence.

"A lot of information that we've received is contradicting and we all know who he was," said Winston Ward, Gulledge's brother.

So who do they think did it?

They believe it was officers at the Albany County Jail who heard about Gulledge injuring officers at the Jefferson County Jail.

"It happens a lot where inmates are treated with disrespect and beaten and even killed, based on convictions," said Ward.

The family said it has sources who are other inmates in the Albany County Jail.

According to the family, the sources gave accounts which were inconsistent with the official version of events.

Albany County's sheriff did not return our calls Monday.

Over the weekend, he told the Albany Times-Union newspaper that letters found in Gulledge's cell indicated he was depressed.

Gulledge's mother-in-law, who asked that we not release her name, did admit that Gulledge was depressed.

"He was depressed, but not to the point of committing suicide," she said.

See earlier report

Thursday, April 24, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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