Local News

Authorities Investigate Fort Bragg Soldier's Suicide In Jail Cell

Posted March 24, 2003

— A Fort Bragg soldier who admitted to strangling his wife to death last summer apparently has committed suicide in jail.

Shortly after 1 a.m. Sunday, former U.S. Army Sgt. William Clark Wright Jr., 36, was found hanging in his cell in the Cumberland County Detention Center.

Officials say cameras are in the jail, but not in the cells. Computer records show Wright was checked 28 minutes before he was found. He was not under suicide watch.

"Jailers are required to make periodic checks of every cells, to physically look in every cell a number of times each hour," said Lt. Sam Pennica, of the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office.

"I was in shock. I heard about it in the very early morning. I was saddened. I liked Bill. He had a lot of good qualities," said Tom Maher, Wright's attorney.

Wright was transported to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 2:05 a.m.

Wright was charged with strangling his wife, Jennifer, last June and burying her body at Fort Bragg. Wright was one of four soldiers accused of killing his wife within a 6-week period last summer. The incidents forced the military to take a long, hard look at how they supported families in domestic violence situations.

Three of those soldiers killed themselves. Maher said his client seemed fine at a hearing on March 7, but he said that was not always the case.

"There's been an indication awhile back that he had thought disorders or problems, disorders. I don't know that he ever threatened to harm himself, but we were concerned about his emotional well-being and mental well-being at times," he said.

"It's very difficult to prevent if someone is really determined to do it without having them under constant supervision, constant watch," Pennica said.

The State Bureau of Investigation is looking into the incident. Officials hope to have a report for the district attorney within the next few days.


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