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Posted on Fri, Oct 22, 2010 : 3:12 p.m.

Inmate hangs himself, another attempts suicide at Washtenaw County Jail

By Lee Higgins

A parolee who investigators say robbed an Ypsilanti Township pizzeria in September while he was wearing a GPS monitoring device hanged himself in a Washtenaw County Jail cell last week, sheriff's department spokesman Derrick Jackson said today.

At 9 p.m. Wednesday, another male inmate attempted suicide in a cell in an unrelated incident by putting something around his neck, Jackson said. He was taken to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital and has no injuries, Jackson said.

Randolph Westbrook Jr., 43, who was charged with armed robbery, was found dead in a one-person cell on Oct. 15, sheriff's deputies said. He hanged himself using a shirt, which was attached to a hinge on a cell door, Jackson said.

Thumbnail image for Randolph_Westbrook.jpg

Randolph Westbrook

Westbrook was seen alive at 4:09 a.m. and staff members found him dead at 4:35 a.m., Jackson said. Staff members performed CPR on Westbrook before turning him over to EMS officials, Jackson said.

An internal investigation, considered routine in such a death, is underway, Jackson said. According to Jackson, there is no indication any procedures were violated.

Westbrook was paroled in January after serving 23 years in state prison for rape. He was accused of robbing Mr. Pizza in the 800 block of Ecorse Road on Sept. 22.

At 9 p.m. Wednesday, a male inmate on suicide watch threatened to harm himself and put something around his neck in a cell, Jackson said. Jackson said he could not be more specific.

The inmate was removed from the cell and taken to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, where doctors determined he didn't have any medical problems from the suicide attempt, Jackson said.

Some of the jail's cells are designated for inmates on suicide watch, but Jackson did not know whether that inmate was in one of them.

The jail has a number of surveillance cameras, but the incidents weren't captured on video, Jackson said.

Lee Higgins covers crime and courts for He can be reached by phone at (734) 623-2527 and e-mail at



Fri, Oct 22, 2010 : 7:05 p.m.

Crime and or no crime!! This person was locked up for 23 years. Come on, consider his age he got cut loose at a bad time in life. No jobs, state is giving very little help to former inmates.


Fri, Oct 22, 2010 : 6:47 p.m.

Thank you Stefanie Murray


Fri, Oct 22, 2010 : 6:25 p.m.

You are right a2d3, there but for the grace of God go I.


Fri, Oct 22, 2010 : 6:11 p.m.

He spent over a lifetime in prison (spent 23 years in prison while he committed the crime when he was about 20 years old) Probably received little to no education and no skill building for jobs during the 23 years in prison. He was then released in the worst economic and highest jobless rate in decades with little to no support system. System is broken.


Fri, Oct 22, 2010 : 5:35 p.m.

We should hold ourselves to a higher standard than to hate against those we accuse of the same. Two wrongs do not make a right. We can be just without being vindictive.


Fri, Oct 22, 2010 : 5:13 p.m.

The sad part about this is that a retired Ann Arbor police officer spoke out on a blog last year about the "perfect storm" that was going to hit Washtenaw County. He spoke about police manpower reductions, a bad economy, and lack of support for paroled felons. The Michigan Department of Corrections often releases parolees in winter from prison with no winter coats. They often have no support network and sadly go back to criminal activiy because of no alternatives to earn a living. This suicide is a sad story that might have been prevented. Remember the prison diary series that was published in the Chronicle awhile back told of the inhumane living conditions in the county jail.


Fri, Oct 22, 2010 : 4:29 p.m.

A human being died. Every day I get more and more amazed by what has happened to "humanity" hiding behind a keyboard. This is no doubt someone's son...someone's dad perhaps. He's gone. Give it up.


Fri, Oct 22, 2010 : 4:19 p.m.

good lord...smh

Top Cat

Fri, Oct 22, 2010 : 3:54 p.m.

I cannot imagine what thoughts would go through any person's head before they take their own life.

American Family

Fri, Oct 22, 2010 : 3:53 p.m.

An armed robber and a rapist. No tear drops here. As I am sure there was not one for the real victims by the armed robber and rapist after his heinous crimes. A loss of life is a sad thing however. Let us all have a moment of silence.


Fri, Oct 22, 2010 : 3:33 p.m.

Scooter Dog, it is going to cost a lot of money to defend the wrongful death law suit that is sure to follow.


Fri, Oct 22, 2010 : 3:09 p.m.

A close friend of mine hung himself with his pants in the Ypsi jail in the late 70's