James Lee Crummel, Death Row Inmate, Found Hanging In Cell At San Quentin
James Lee Crummel, a death row inmate at San Quentin State Prison, committed suicide on Sunday. He was pronounced dead after being found hanging in his cell.
Crummel was on death row after having been convicted in 2004 of kidnapping, molesting, and killing 13-year-old James Wilfred Trotter, according to CBS News.
The State Department of Corrections did not release information on how Crummel was able to hang himself in such a high-security facility. Trotter disappeared on his way to school in Orange County in 1979, and his remains were not discovered until Crummel reported that he found a skull while hiking on a Lake Elsinore mountainside in 1990.
James Trotter’s remains were not positively identified until 1996, and Crummel was not convicted of his murder until 2004. During that time, he was already serving a life-sentence for molesting a California teenager in 1999.
James Lee Crummel is also suspected of kidnapping and murdering Jack “J.D.” Phillips, 9, who went missing from his home in Big Bear Lake, California, in 1995. The 68-year-old was living in the area at the time, but refused to cooperate and tell investigators where the boy’s remains were, unless they took the death sentence off the table.
Crummel also lived down the street from James Trotter’s family in Costa Mesa at the time of Trotter’s abduction.
The death row inmate had a history of molesting young boys, which went back to the 1960s. He was reportedly one of the first sex offenders who had his history notified to a community, a requirement put in place by Megan’s Law. The law allows law enforcement to share information about people convicted of sex crimes with the general public.