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seekinghelp
08-13-2012, 05:08 AM
Hi,
Does anyone know of any methods to commit murder and get away with it in prison? They should be realistic; I don't want the reader to think "lol no irl they'd get caught because of xyz". I suppose they could make it look like an accident/suicide/natural causes, but how? What would beat an autopsy, or better yet not attract one in the first place? Evading detection by the authorities is the priority; getting caught by another inmate isn't quite as much of a concern, in fact, that could be used to lay the groundwork for a blackmail storyline.

Also, suppose one character's enemy had a another feud with, say, a rival gang, and the character wasn't particularly fond of them either. How would they encourage a war between the two gangs in hopes that they would kill each other off without either side figuring it out who instigated it?

seekinghelp
08-13-2012, 10:06 PM
Hi,
Does anyone know of any methods to commit murder and get away with it in prison? They should be realistic; I don't want the reader to think "lol no irl they'd get caught because of xyz". I suppose they could make it look like an accident/suicide/natural causes, but how? What would beat an autopsy, or better yet not attract one in the first place? Evading detection by the authorities is the priority; getting caught by another inmate isn't quite as much of a concern, in fact, that could be used to lay the groundwork for a blackmail storyline.

Also, suppose one character's enemy had a another feud with, say, a rival gang, and the character wasn't particularly fond of them either. How would they encourage a war between the two gangs in hopes that they would kill each other off without either side figuring it out who instigated it?

James D. Macdonald
08-13-2012, 11:34 PM
Also, suppose one character's enemy had a another feud with, say, a rival gang, and the character wasn't particularly fond of them either. How would they encourage a war between the two gangs in hopes that they would kill each other off without either side figuring it out who instigated it?

Steal from the best:

Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett. (You'll join a long line, including but not limited to Yojimbo, A Fistful of Dollars, Miller's Crossing, and Last Man Standing.)

skink
08-14-2012, 09:12 AM
there are a whole load of websites devoted to cataloguing real-life improvised weapons confiscated from prison inmates, some of which are very inventive, as well as the ways of hiding those weapons (hollowed-out books being the most common).

similar numbers of websites exist listing true-life murders and escapes.

J.F.G.I.

here's one to get you started:

http://www.correctionsone.com/contraband/articles/1961780-15-deadly-improvised-prison-weapons-and-tools/

James D. Macdonald
08-14-2012, 09:35 AM
What would beat an autopsy? Nothing much.

What might keep an autopsy from happening (other than official malfeasance)? How about this: The prisoner you want to kill has a heart condition controlled with medicines, and the person who wants to kill him has access to the hospital infirmary and switches out his meds for sugar pills. He dies of a pre-existing condition; no one's surprised, no autopsy. How about that?

skink
08-14-2012, 01:30 PM
what might beat an autopsy? - the three F's:

Fire F*cks Forensics

Six Alaric
08-14-2012, 03:19 PM
This isn't the most inventive method but a character forced into position to hang themselves would be most easily disguised as (or simply assumed to be) suicide.

espresso5
08-14-2012, 08:41 PM
If the goal is just to get away with it, as in, it's okay if everyone knows it's murder as long as no one knows who did it, I wouldn't think it would be hard. As long as the prisoner is in the general population, there are plenty of ways to get to him, and you can make a weapon out of about anything.
Get him alone for five seconds (bathroom, chapel, showers, library, at his job if he has one, classroom, hospital) and stab him with something.

ironmikezero
08-14-2012, 09:55 PM
Gavage is in the right track - homicide staged as a suicide by hanging. COD is strangulation/asphyxiation (rolled bedsheets are popular). There may or not be signs of resistance; it'll depend upon the method used to restrain the victim (wrapped in a bed sheet/blanket - removed after death - leaves little clear evidence).

These cases are notoriously difficult to close, but it usually can be done. It typically takes two or more perpetrators to do the deed.

To paraphrase Sonny Barger -two can keep a secret if one of them is dead.

Incarceration is a closed environment with a limited pool of suspects. Word will circulate on the prison grapevine and eventually it'll leak. Somebody will barter the information; patience is the investigators' primary virtue. Understand that it may take years.

truemay
08-15-2012, 04:24 PM
If your charecter can get a hold of some pottasium, not hard its used in most of these low salt products.Then inject it beneath the hairline, between the toes somwhere there not going to look too closely.
This will stop their heart and make it look like a heart attack.
The autopsy will show high levels of pottasium, but if he is found a few hours later, next morning for instance, the body has started to break down and release chemicals. One of which is Potassium.

Google it.

gingerwoman
09-06-2012, 12:48 PM
I read a true crime book about a poisoner and he used a plant he found on the prison grounds to make poison.

Jones()
09-26-2012, 05:35 AM
Take into account the security level in the prison. At the highest level of security (for example, Lucasville, OH), I don't see how one could commit a murder himself and still get away with it legally. Inmates at that level are watched constantly -- yes, even while they're in their cells, even going to the bathroom. There's just never a time when you'd get the privacy to do something unobserved -- unless you pay off at least three C.O.s, which only works if you're in a really corrupt prison. In a high security environment, the only way you could do it would be to get another inmate to do it and let him take the legal consequences.

At lower levels, it might be doable. However, remember that inmates in any prison are counted at least three times a day (there were six counts in the medium security prison I worked in), and when they move from one part of the institution to another, they sign a log sheet with an in/out time. An inmate's location for every minute of the day is usually logged somewhere.

Of course, in fiction you can always stretch the bounds of reality. But otherwise, the best bet for someone who wanted to kill someone in prison and get away with it would be to find someone else to do the deed itself -- the only real exception being a county jail. A lot of county jails are incredibly overcrowded. Some areas can go completely unsupervised for hours at a time.

By the way, I'm assuming you're talking about a men's prison. Because so few women (relative to men) get incarcerated, women's prisons in different jurisdictions can be very different. My state has only one prison for women, and it blends all different security levels. When I taught there, you could tell the security level for a particular inmate by the color of the blouse she wore. Given oddities like that, it might be easier to come up with a realistic way to carry out a murder under those conditions.

take care

---Jones()