Judge rips prison officials after Virginia inmate dies by suicide

Virginia News

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A judge is excoriating federal prison officials who refused to admit an inmate needing mental health care who later killed himself in a local jail cell.

Sixty-two-year-old Christopher Lapp of Great Falls, Virginia, died by suicide at the Alexandria Adult Detention Center last month while he awaited sentencing on carjacking and armed bank robbery charges.

Lapp was bipolar and had a history of mental-health problems. When he pleaded guilty in April, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III ordered him sent to the federal prison hospital in Butner, North Carolina. But Butner officials refused to accept Lapp, saying they don’t take inmates awaiting sentencing unless they need a court-ordered evaluation.

At a hearing Friday Ellis rebuked officials who ignored his order.

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