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Inmate found dead at Rock County Jail

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Gazette Staff
February 17, 2009
— An apparent death by suicide of a Rock County Jail inmate remained under investigation this morning, officials said.

Kenneth Cardero Smith, 20, Beloit, was found hanging in his cell alone at 11:34 p.m. Monday, Sheriff's Cmdr. Tom Gehl said.


Smith was discovered during a routine security check, he said.


He had been held in jail on $750 cash bond since Jan. 28 on a charge of second-degree reckless injury, Gehl said.


Jail staff tried to revive Smith within a minute of finding him hanging, he said. Janesville Fire Department paramedics also tried to help Smith.


The sheriff's office and coroner's office continue to investigate Smith's death.


Smith was being held on charges that he stabbed another man in the cheek and tongue Jan. 28 at a home in the 1600 block of Sixth Street in Beloit, according to the criminal complaint.


The stabbing occurred after an argument over Smith's clothing getting moved to set up a television, according to the complaint.


Smith grabbed a knife out of his back pocket and stabbed the other man, according to the criminal complaint.


Smith also was thrown against the wall, choked and threatened during the fight, according to the complaint.


He told Beloit police he stabbed the man to defend himself, saying he didn't want to stab him, according to the complaint. He added that the other man was bigger than he.


Smith told investigators he was from Chicago and moved to Beloit after his parents kicked him out of the house, according to the complaint. He was living with his uncle.


After his arrest, Smith was held in a medium-security section of the jail, Gehl said.


The last time a jail inmate died by suicide was in 2005, Gehl said.



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