YORK — The York County Sheriffs Office has asked state authorities to assist in an investigation after an inmate jumped from an upper tier stair rail in the county detention center, fell 12 feet and struck his head on a concrete floor Monday, officials say.
Maj. Robert Hudgins said Tuesday the agency has called in the State Law Enforcement Division to investigate for an outside opinion to ensure all proper procedures and rules were followed in the incident.
We want to cover all bases and make sure all our policies and procedures were correct, he said. Theres no indication that we didnt. Its a normal part of the procedure.
Just after 4 p.m. Monday, 49-year-old Steven Spagnoli threw himself over a rail in a maximum-security unit at the detention center, according to a Sheriffs Office release.
After his fall, Spagnoli was flown to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. As of Tuesday morning, Hudgins said Spagnoli was listed in crtiical condition.
Last week in court, a jury found Spagnoli guilty of murder in the 2010 shooting death of 44-year-old Richard Leach. He also was found guilty of attempted murder, criminal conspiracy and using a firearm during a violent crime.
Circuit Court Judge John C. Hayes III sentenced Spagnoli to life in prison without parole.
Spagnoli was set to be transferred to the S.C. Department of Corrections Tuesday to begin serving his sentence, the release states.
The unit in which Spagnoli was incarcerated while waiting for the transfer is a high-security area with constant supervision, Hudgins said. There are always at least two deputies patrolling the area, along with an officer in the control area, which is located in the center of the unit.
Cells are checked every 30 minutes, Hudgins said. Each inmate is allowed one hour of recreation time per day.
Only one inmate is let out at a time in the special management unit so there wont be conflicts, he said.
All inmates in the unit are required to wear handcuffs, which Spagnoli had on him at the time, he said.
Hudgins said the incident was very unfortunate. Our hearts go out his family, he said.
Attorney Bill Hancock represented Spagnoli in last weeks trial. He said he was sorry it had happened and it had been a shock to him.
Spagnolis father, Richard Spagnoli, said Tuesday he learned of his sons fall when a sheriffs deputy called him.
Tuesday morning, his son had an operation to relieve the pressure in his brain, Richard Spagnoli said. His sons vital signs were fine, and medical officials were set to do another CT scan.
It doesnt look too good, but hes still fighting, Richard Spagnoli said.
Spagnoli had talked to his son after the trial and hadnt seen any indications that his son would harm himself.
Hes my son, he said. I want him to live. Once he has a chance to think things over, hell want to live, too.
I love him. I cant believe this happened. I dont know if Im ever going to get over this.
Nicole E. Smith 803-329-4068