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Mystery Surrounds Texas Prison Rape/Suicide

A prisoner at the French Robertson Unit near Abilene, TX, hanged himself August 16, 2000, shortly after sexually assaulting a female prison employee, prison authorities say.

A few minutes after 4:00 p.m., the female recreational staff (whose name and age were not released) confronted Michael Wayne Roy, a 45yearold prisoner assigned to work as a gym orderly, about what he'd been doing in a janitor's closet. A struggle ensued, said Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) spokesman Larry Fitzgerald.

The woman locked herself in the gym office, but Roy broke in, bound her wrists and sexually assaulted her, said Fitzgerald.

"After the offender left, she locked herself in a bathroom and phoned the assistant warden's office," Fitzgerald told the Associated Press. He said guards who responded to the call were led to the janitor's closet by a blood trail.

"He was barricaded in there," Fitzgerald said. "They used some (pepper spray) gas through the door and upon opening the closet door they found offender Roy hanging by shoestrings."

The same day, though, French Robertson warden James Duke gave a different account to the Abilene ReporterNews. Duke said that Roy wrapped a cord around his neck and hanged himself in the same room (the gym office) where he'd raped the female employee.

Roy was pronounced dead at 4:37 p.m., about 30 minutes after the sexual assault. He had been imprisoned since 1979 on a 99year aggravated rape sentence and five concurrent 60year sentences for aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon.

The Associated Press article stated that Roy's request for parole had been denied earlier that same day.

However, no mention was made of a parole denial in the account given by the warden to the ReporterNews. Warden Duke did say that Roy had "never acted aggressively toward prison employees before."

"He's actually not had any problems while incarcerated," Duke told the ReporterNews.

A Texas prisoner tells PLN that Roy's parole denial occurred fully two months before. The same source says that Roy had a history of sexual misconduct in prison, at one point being investigated by prison authorities for raping his cellpartner. In another instance, says PLN's tipster, Roy was removed from an orderly job in the prison's administration area after "women all over the unit started getting prank phone calls" from a man "breathing heavy."

So why was Roy working alone in the gym with a female staff member? Apparently, says PLN's source, he was given the job by a Major who chose to circumvent "normal classification procedure."

There is little doubt that Roy assaulted a female staff member in the gym. How it happened, and why, remain a mystery.

The truth may be known only to Michael Wayne Roy, who hanged himself in the gym office with a cord or was it in the janitor's closet with a shoestring?

Sources: Abilene ReporterNews, Associated Press, Reader Mail

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