New York (PIX11) — Rebecca Hillman was the correction captain in charge at the Manhattan Detention Complex on Nov. 22, 2020, the day an inmate in custody hanged himself.

Now, Hillman will spend six months in jail for failing to prevent 29-year-old Ryan Wilson’s suicide. What was proven in the trial: the suicide could have been prevented as a subordinate officer junior to Hillman had informed her that Wilson was threatening to kill himself.

“Ryan Wilson might still be alive today had Rebecca Hillman taken the urgent, appropriate action required,” said Department of Investigations Commissioner Jocelyn E. Strauber. “Instead, she chose to do nothing, and I hope today’s sentence provides some measure of justice for Wilson’s family. “

Wilson, who was being held on a robbery charge, had been assigned housing in Hillman’s unit at the Manhattan Detention Complex. Hillman was about to have the inmate transferred to another area because of an altercation involving another individual also assigned to her area, according to court documents.  

While Wilson was locked in his cell and waiting to be transferred, he made a noose out of his bed sheet and attached it to a light fixture within the facility. The inmate then climbed onto a stool and called another correction officer to his cell. 

The subordinate officer told Hillman that she was needed but she kept doing paperwork instead. About 10 minutes after calling for Hillman, Wilson took his own life.

The officer who saw Wilson jump called for the cell to be opened. When Hillman emerged from the room where she was doing paperwork, she came up to the cell and ordered the officer not to enter and cut Wilson down.

She responded by saying that he was fine and was “playing around.” She then entered the cell herself and said that Wilson was faking it because he was still breathing and ordered the cell door to be closed. About 15 minutes after Wilson hanged himself, Hillman ordered the door unlocked and allowed officers inside.

By the time someone was allowed into the cell, Wilson had a faint pulse. Wilson was dead when medical personnel arrived a few minutes later.

An investigation was opened and Hillman was subsequently charged with criminally negligent homicide in April 2021. In March 2023, a New York State Supreme Court found Hillman guilty of one count of criminally negligent homicide. This is the first time a correctional officer has been convicted of and sentenced for criminally negligent homicide.

This story comprises reporting from The Associated Press.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, contact the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). It is a free, 24/7 service that offers support, information, and local resources. You can also click here for additional hotlines within your state.