Report details suicide attempts at jail

Published: Wednesday, March 1, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 1, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
OCALA - Marion County Sheriff's Officials on Tuesday released a nine-page Internal Affairs report detailing the circumstances surrounding the self-inflicted arm-cutting last month by accused killer Leo Boatman.
Boatman is charged in the January slaying of two Santa Fe Community College students in the Ocala National Forest.
The report could not pinpoint how Boatman was able to get a quarter-inch razor blade, and it said that another prisoner, Samuel Higgins, had also cut himself a few days earlier.
Higgins is being held without bail on several charges, including battery on a law enforcement officer and possession of contraband in a secured facility.
Higgins cut his left wrist by using his right hand thumbnail on Feb. 9, according to jail officials. He was treated at the jail's medical facility, his nails were cut and he was placed in a restraint chair. The next day, Higgins complained of chest pains. While being evaluated, he was allowed to use the rest room, where he opened the old wound with his fingernail. Higgins was again put in a restraint chair and housed next to Boatman.
Later that night, Higgins cut himself again. This time, his mouth was examined, and jailers found a broken razor blade.
On Feb. 11, Boatman cut himself with a razor blade. He was treated at a hospital. He went to the hospital again after spitting up blood and telling a correction officer he had swallowed part of a razor blade. An X-ray was negative.
Higgins was quizzed by detectives, who told them he found the blade wrapped in paper. He then broke the blade in two, keeping one for himself and the other for Boatman.
Boatman told investigators that a prisoner named Brian McCloud slipped him the blade. Higgins confirmed Boatman's story during a second interview. McCloud denied the allegation.
The report concludes it was difficult to find out how McCloud got the razor due to his "lack of cooperation."
Special attention "should be directed to the mouths of all inmates coming into that section," the report said. It also called for new rules on who is allowed to get a razor and checking on when they are returned.

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