Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Skilling's Son Found Dead; Suicide Believed The Cause

A son of imprisoned ex-Enron chief Jeffrey Skilling, John Taylor Skilling, a 20-year-old communications major at Chapman College in Orange, Calif., was found dead from what police say was a drug overdose, according to an article on ABC News's Go website.

"Paramedics broke into his apartment after friends were concerned and found Skilling in the bedroom with a bottle of prescription drugs by his bed," the article said.

"They were supposed to meet him for dinner and he didn't show up and they knew he was despondent over a recent break-up with a girlfriend," Santa Ana Police Corporal Anthony Bertagna told Reuters, as quoted in the story. "They looked in the window and they could see him lying on the bed."

"We don't know yet if it's a possible accidental overdose or suicide," he said.

Jeffrey Skilling is the former president of Enron, which was headquartered in Houston, Texas. In 2006 he was convicted of multiple federal felony charges relating to Enron's financial collapse, and is currently serving a 24-year, 4-month prison sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Englewood, Colorado.

The Supreme Court of the United States heard arguments in the appeal of the case March 1, 2010. On June 24, 2010, the Supreme Court vacated part of Skilling's conviction and sent the case back to the lower court for further proceedings.

Losing a loved one is bad enough, but imagine if you are in prison when you get the news. Walter Pavlo writes about this very subject in his latest post on his Forbes blog, While-Collar Crime.

"Receiving any news from prison staff is usually a sign of bad news from the outside. Prisoners receive mail or make phone calls to communicate with the outside world, but when one is called-out to come to the main office of the prison it is usually bad news," Pavlo writes.

"...the procedure for informing an inmate of the death of a family member was intended to provide safety for the inmate and those in the prison. Sudden news of a loss creates emotions that may not be controllable, which is a potential problem in what is supposed to be a controlled environment."

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