Crime

Belleville teen just charged with murder hangs himself in jail

Damon Stidimire, 19, of Belleville, was found Thursday night hanged with a sheet in his cell at the St. Clair County Jail. He was recently charged with murder for a stabbing near Belleville.
Damon Stidimire, 19, of Belleville, was found Thursday night hanged with a sheet in his cell at the St. Clair County Jail. He was recently charged with murder for a stabbing near Belleville. Provided

A 19-year-old Belleville man facing a first-degree murder charge hanged himself in his cell early Thursday night at the St. Clair County Jail, police said.

Damon Stidimire hanged himself with a sheet, police said. He was in the general inmate population and showed no signs of suicidal desires, Sheriff Rick Watson said.

“He gave no indication that he was going to harm himself,” Watson said. “There was no indication whatsoever.”

Watson could not state the exact time when corrections officers last saw Stidimire alive. Standard procedure calls for inmate cell checks to take place every 30 minutes, Watson said.

The sheriff’s department is investigating Stidimire’s death, along with the Illinois Department of Corrections, which is standard procedure, Watson said.

GUESTBOOK: Express your condolences to the family of Damon Stidimire

Stidimire, of 1045 Brookshire Drive, was being held on $500,000 bond at the jail in connection with the stabbing death of a man whose brother Stidimire had been seen arguing with late Saturday at a residence in the 2800 block of West Boulevard near Belleville, according to St. Clair County Sheriff's Department reports.

Deputies were called to the home at 11:38 p.m. Saturday, according to Sheriff's Department spokesman Capt. Scott Weymouth.

“When they arrived, the victim had an open wound that appeared to be the result of a stabbing,” Weymouth previously said.

The stabbing victim, Brianzellous T. Allen, 25, was taken to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Belleville for treatment and later was transferred by helicopter to St. Louis University Hospital, where he died at 5:25 a.m. Monday.

St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly upgraded a charge of aggravated battery against Stidimire to first-degree murder Tuesday morning.

The last inmate suicide at the jail occurred May 24, 2014, with the hanging death of Bradley C. Scarpi. Scarpi took his life a few hours after being moved into the jail’s protective custody unit.

Watson said at the time that Scarpi had been in the jail 19 times before and was considered a “model inmate.”

Watson didn't say why Scarpi asked to move into protective custody, where he was in a cell alone.

“He was having some issues,” Watson told a News-Democrat reporter.

Mike Fitzgerald: 618-239-2533, @MikeFitz3000

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