A New York state man who was in jail following a violent assault that permanently blinded his 78-year-old grandmother has hanged himself, authorities said.
Micheal Grief, 30, of Sayville, was found hanging in his cell in the Suffolk County Jail in Riverhead shortly before 4 a.m. Friday, according to Newsday. He was taken to a hospital, where he was declared dead several hours later.
Jail officials told Newsday that Grief, who was not on suicide watch at the time of his death, never regained consciousness. An internal investigation is being conducted into his apparent suicide.
Grief, who was arraigned Wednesday on charges of first-degree assault and two counts of second-degree assault, was jailed in connection with a Feb. 19 attack on his grandmother, who raised him.
NBC New York reported that Grief got into an argument with his grandmother that night over his use of her debit card, which led to an overdraft of $1,000. Suffolk County District Attorney's Office officials told the news station his grandmother became afraid of him and ran from the home to seek help at a neighbor's house.
Grief chased her and used his fingers to gouge her eyes out with such force that her eyeballs ruptured, the news station reported. She underwent surgery to save her vision but doctors gave her less than 1 percent chance of regaining her sight.
Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini, who described the case as “extremely disturbing,” said Grief appeared dismissive of the damage he had caused.
"When (Grief) was talking to police and was told he had gouged his grandmother's eyes out, he was very dismissive," Sini said in a statement. "He said, 'So?' shrugged his shoulders and appeared to be apathetic toward the situation."
Before his death, Grief was facing up to 25 years in prison, NBC New York reported.
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