Richard Conner is among Illinois’ most dangerous inmates, a convicted murderer who was locked up in solitary confinement at the state’s only super-maximum security prison. After nearly killing himself in a suicide attempt, says the Chicago Tribune, he was moved for medical treatment to another prison. He was placed in a cell with another inmate, Jameson Leezer, a petty criminal and prison lightweight. Two weeks later, Leezer was found strangled in his cell. He was only 16 days from his scheduled release.
The slaying highlights a perilous flaw in how non-violent offenders sent to maximum-security prisons for disciplinary infractions have been locked up in the same cells with predatory inmates serving long sentences, who have nothing to lose. Last month the Tribune reported on a similar homicide in 2004 in another state prison.