Convicted kidnapper kills himself in prison

A 32-year-old convicted kidnapper who was also facing second-degree murder and other charges hanged himself at Louisiana State Penitentiary shortly before noon Wednesday, a prison spokeswoman said.

Derrick S. Jones was discovered dead in his cell in the Angola prison’s behavioral management unit, Camp J, where he had been sent for disciplinary violations, Assistant Warden Cathy Fontenot said.

The hanging is under investigation by Angola authorities and the West Feliciana Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Jones was serving a total of 45 years, as a third-conviction habitual offender, on four counts of second-degree kidnapping in Ouachita Parish.

He was convicted in the Christmas night 2004 kidnapping of his former girlfriend and three of her male friends, according to an appellate opinion in his case.

Fontenot said Jones recently went to court on pending charges of second-degree murder, armed robbery and aggravated burglary in Ouachita Parish.

Assistant District Attorney Stephen T. Sylvester, of Monroe, said Jones was a reputed gang member who was accused of entering a residence occupied by several rival gang members and robbing them at gunpoint.

Later, Jones allegedly killed a rival gang member who reportedly had said he was looking for Jones to answer for the robbery, Sylvester said.

“I’m sorry to hear of his death. My heart goes out to his family,” Sylvester said. “Although I fully intended to prosecute him for second-degree murder, I consider every life sacred.”

The suicide was Angola’s second this year. An inmate in Camp D hanged himself on April 11, prison officials said.