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Inmate who died in Bellevue Hospital jail ward had just gotten new trial in Bronx murder case

An ailing state prisoner who died in city custody last week had just won a new trial five years after his conviction for stabbing his wife 13 times in the Bronx in 2016.

Roy Savage, 51, died March 22 in the Bellevue Hospital jail ward, the third death in the jails in 2024, officials said. The city Medical Examiner’s office has yet to issue a cause of death, but a source familiar with the case said Savage was suffering from cancer.

Savage had been transferred to Rikers Island on Nov. 30 after a five-judge appellate panel ordered the new trial, ruling an NYPD detective made a mistake in reciting the Miranda warning against self-incrimination and guiding his confession after his arrest in 2016, the decision shows.

The detective when reading him his rights told him anything he said would “not necessarily” be used against him at trial. Detectives also misled Savage about the consequences of confessing, saying it “doesn’t have to be the end” of his defense and he should “do the right thing.”

Savage confessed to the detectives and told them where to find the knife that was used in the murder, the decision states. He admitted he stabbed his wife but claimed it happened after she got angry and attacked him.

New York - August 14, 2019 - Real estate photograph of the Bellevue Hospital Center, founded on 1736 and the oldest public hospital in the United States. Located on First Avenue in the Kips Bay neighborhood of Manhattan. Bellevue Hospital is also home to FDNY EMS Station 08, formerly NYC EMS Station 13. (Luiz C. Ribeiro for New York Daily News)
Bellevue Hospital Center (Luiz C. Ribeiro for New York Daily News)

“The Miranda warnings were undermined by the additional commentary and misleading statements made by the police officers,” the appellate panel ruled. “After the officers made the misleading statements, nothing was specifically done to correct any resulting misunderstanding.

“Those institutions also cannot be allowed to proliferate misleading information in situations where a suspect is entitled to be advised of his rights.”

The trial judge Margaret Clancy did suppress his first statement to detectives. But the panel ruled she erred in not also suppressing a second confession to prosecutors and DNA evidence found on the knife as “fruit of the poisoned tree,” the decision states.

Bronx prosecutors appealed the decision. The appeal was pending when Savage died.

Prosecutors said Savage fatally stabbed his wife, Shellette Walace Savage, 13 times in their fifth floor apartment on E. 164th St. near Sherman Av about five blocks from Yankee Stadium.

Shellette was stabbed four times in the back. Roy Savage told cops unnamed robbers forced their way in and attacked the couple.

He showed them injuries, including cuts on his hand and scratches to his neck. But detectives disproved his claims after reviewing security video.

Savage’s death was the third in Correction Department custody in 2024, following nine in 2023, 19 in 2022 and 16 in 2021.


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