Jeffrey Epstein’s apparent suicide has created a frenzy of speculation. Any time there is a high-profile case, the media and the public put a spotlight on every detail and draw their own conclusions. As an investigator, I always focus on motive, means and opportunity.
I spoke to a source close to Epstein’s legal team and learned that, in all likelihood, the prosecution was not going to offer him any deal at all in exchange for his testimony. Epstein believed he was likely to receive nothing less than the maximum punishment for his crimes.
Epstein’s notoriety and the nature of the allegations against him almost guaranteed threats and violence from the inmates at any prison. Just a few weeks ago, he was attacked by another inmate at the Metropolitan Corrections Center. His only option to avoid constant assault would have been to enter protective custody, which is effectively solitary confinement, for the rest of his life. When I look at a man faced with the certainty of a lifetime of absolute torment in prison, I see a strong motive to end one’s life.
Epstein was placed on suicide watch after first trying to hang himself on July 23. When a prisoner is on suicide watch, they are closely monitored and forced to wear paper clothing that doesn’t provide the means for self-harm. After an observation period in this state, the prisoner is taken off suicide watch and placed into a special housing unit with regular clothing, a cellmate and a bunk bed. The bunk bed is often high enough to hang oneself enough to cause asphyxiation, and the availability of clothing and bed linens provides the necessary tools.
The Metropolitan Corrections Center is also understaffed. The guards are overworked. The two on duty when Epstein died were reportedly sleeping. And Epstein’s cellmate was transferred on Friday, leaving him alone in violation of procedure. (RELATED: Epstein’s Impossible Death Damaged The Legitimacy Of Our Criminal Justice System)
I understand why so many people may look to conspiracy theories to explain what happened. I can also see clear and plausible reasons for why Epstein would simply chose to end his own life. A combination of incompetence and understaffing by the corrections department, as well as extreme guilt and despair on Epstein’s part, enabled him to do so.
It is a terrible shame that he died before others who participated in his despicable crimes could be brought to justice. My hope is that the Department of Justice will still pursue charges against Epstein’s alleged collaborators and co-conspirators, and that his victims will get at least some closure and justice.
Richard “Bo” Dietl (@BoDietl) was a New York City police officer and detective for 16 years, over which he effected more than 1,600 arrests. He served as co-chairman of the National Crime Commission under President George H.W. Bush and chairman of the New York State Security Guard Advisory Council under Govs. George Pataki and Elliot Spitzer. Since 1985 he has been CEO of Beau Dietl & Associates, an investigative and security firm.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.