A 55-year-old registered sex offender being held in the Madison County Jail was found hanging in his cell Thursday morning, the day after he was charged with trying to hire someone to abduct the woman he was charged with raping.
Kenneth W. Simpson was found hanging in his cell at 5:30 a.m. Thursday by correctional officers, according to a news release from the Madison County Sheriff's Department. He was listed on Florida and Illinois registries as a predator after he was convicted in 2000 of molesting a 7-year-old child in Brevard County, Fla., which is the Cocoa Beach area.
Illinois State Police Capt. James Morrisey said there was no indication that Simpson's death was other than a suicide. He appeared to have hung himself with a piece of cloth in his cell, which was part of a cell block containing six or eight other inmates, Morrisey said.
Simpson had been in the Madison County Jail since Aug. 24, 2011. He faced charges of aggravated criminal sexual assault, aggravated unlawful restraint, solicitation to commit home invasion, solicitation to commit residential burglary and unlawful possession of contraband in jail.
The solicitation charges and the contraband charges were filed against Simpson on Wednesday after detectives learned Simpson was planning to hurt the 64-year-old woman he was charged with raping.
Charges and an order of protection state Simpson on Aug. 19, 2011, beat the woman, took away her .357 Magnum and threatened her with it as he raped her twice in her Maryville home. At some point he slept on her floor with the weapon cocked.
He threatened to kill the victim, kill Maryville Police and them kill himself, court records state.
In July, Simpson sued the Madison County sheriff and jail medical personnel for refusing to give him pain medications. He claimed his back was hurt while serving as a U.S. Marine from 1975 to 1991 and the Veterans Administration had prescribed Vicodin and codeine.
Simpson was not under any kind of suicide watch, Morrisey said.
Once Simpson was discovered hanging in the cell, guards provided emergency treatment until the Edwardsville Fire Department Emergency Medical Services arrived.
EMS provided medical treatment until they determined Simpson was dead.
The Illinois State Police and the Department of Corrections and Madison County Coroner's Office are jointly investigating the death, as is standard jail protocol. No deficiencies were found in the last state inspection of the jail.
Contact reporter Beth Hundsdorfer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2570.