Records show jail policy violated in inmate’s death

Freedom New Mexico

Curry County jail officials violated jail policy when they left an inmate who hanged himself alone for more than an hour on Sept. 26, records show.

Aaron Quinones was left alone in a private cell for one hour and 18 minutes, Curry County Undersheriff Wesley Waller said last week. Jail policy, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act this week by the Clovis News Journal, states Quinones should have been checked every 30 minutes.

Curry County Manager Lance Pyle said the county is conducting an investigation of Quinones’ death. He said officials would not provide details until the investigation was complete.

Quinones, 27, was found unresponsive about 7:30 a.m. on Sept. 26 by jail personnel. He was found with ligature marks, Waller said.

Waller said that Quinones made the ligature using shreds of a blanket. Quinones was last seen alive at 6:12 a.m. that morning, Waller said.

Quinones had been moved from state prison to the Curry County jail for his murder trial, which was scheduled to begin Sept. 26. The trial was postponed Sept. 23 after a defense attorney became ill, court records show.

Quinones was charged with killing Elizabeth McAdams, 52, in 2008. Investigators said Quinones was looking for his estranged girlfriend when he broke into McAdams’ home, beat her to death, slashed her throat and set a fire to try and cover up the crime.