Murder Suspect Found Dead In DC Jail

7:15 AM, Nov 26, 2009   |    comments
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  • Jose Pena, in DC Superior court last week. Sketch by Bill Hennessy
  • 9 year old Oscar Fuentes was shot to death earlier this month.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) - District Police homicide detectives and Corrections officials are investigating the death of the suspect in a high profile murder case, who was found unconscious in his  jail cell Wednesday afternoon.  A spokeswoman for the city's Corrections department identified the man found dead as Josue Pena, the man charged last week in the fatal shooting of a 9 year old boy.

Sylvia Lane, a spokesperson for the DC Corrections department tells 9NEWS NOW that  Pena was found hanging in his cell shortly after 1:00pm Wednesday afternoon.  Ms. Lane said that attempts were made to revive him, and that he was taken to Howard University hospital where he was pronounced dead at 1:53 p.m.

Lane said, in a statement released by the Corrections Department that Pena had been housed within a Special Management Unit, a section of the jail for inmates who required enhanced supervision.  

Lane's statement said the preliminary cause of death in the hospital report was cardiac, caused by asphyxiation.  Corrections officials then located and notified Pena's next of kin.   

Commander Rodney Parks of the MPD Violent Crimes unit told 9NEWS NOW the cause and manner of death would be determined by the Medical Examiners' office.  Lane said the incident would also be the subject of an internal investigation by Corrections officials.

Pena, 26, was arrested last week, and charged in the fatal shooting of 9 year old Oscar Fuentes, who was hit by a bullet fired through the door of his family's apartment.  The shooting occured in an apartment building on Columbia Road on November 14. 

Pena was apprehended by members of the Capital Area Fugitive Task Force, at a location  in Hyattsville, Md., on November 17.  Pena was charged with first degree homicide while armed, and appeared in DC Superior Court the next day and was ordered held without bond.

Written by Bill Starks

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