Inmate killed in jail cell was there for his own protection
Prisoner was strangled by his own boot laces
Gary Dimmock and Alexandra Zabjek
The Ottawa Citizen
Friday, March 31, 2006
A man who was placed in a special cell at the Gatineau jail for his own protection was strangled to death by his own boot laces and then hanged by a bedsheet from the top bunk.
Quebec police initially thought Gerald Papatie, a 54-year-old from Rapid Lake, a remote Algonquin reserve about 275 kilometres north of Ottawa, who was serving less than two years for drunk driving, had taken his own life Monday night just after supper. But after an autopsy Tuesday morning, a coroner told police there was no doubt the man was killed, and that his killer went to great lengths to hide what he had done.
Mr. Papatie had just started serving his sentence when he was found dead at about 6:30 p.m. Somehow, even with guards on duty, nobody reported any signs of a struggle inside the cell, located in the jail's segregation unit.
Mr. Papatie, who weighed 245 pounds, was not considered violent by police. And because he was not a hardened or violent criminal, he had been placed in the segregation cell for his own safety.
So had Robert Bougie. The 43-year-old, who was in jail awaiting sentencing for assaulting a woman, was placed in the same cell as Mr. Papatie, and for the same reason. Guards thought he'd end up in fights if he was kept in the general population. Mr. Bougie, while only 135 pounds, was considered too "wildly violent" to be allowed into the general population. He had a reputation for "flying off the rails," police said.
Once Mr. Papatie's death was ruled a homicide, detectives questioned Mr. Bougie for hours, but, according to police, he didn't say a word.
Quebec's Ministry of Public Security has started an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Mr. Papatie's death, said Johanne Pelletier, a ministry spokeswoman. "We have launched an internal investigation to ensure that proper procedures were followed."
ï¿½ The Ottawa Citizen 2006
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