It has not been a good year for guards at the state's largest prison. In January, you may recall, Jayme Biendl, a 34-year-old officer at the Monroe Correctional Complex, who was working alone and unarmed in the prison chapel, was murdered by Byron Scherf, a 52-year-old lifer convicted in 1997 on first-degree rape and kidnapping charges. Scherf strangled Biendl with a microphone cord in what he told responding officers was a failed escape attempt.
And now this: Yesterday, a 49-year-old guard at the same prison was found dead in his car of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. The man, whose name has yet to be released, was said to be a friend of Biendl. They both started their jobs in 2002. We can't know whether this suicide has any connection to Biendl's murder, but we do know this: Being a prison guard is very difficult, unpleasant work, cutbacks have made the work even more difficult and unpleasant, and, in a related development, a second guard from the state's largest prison has met an early demise within a period of five months.