Valrico carjacking and murder suspect tries to hang himself in jail, deputies say

Hillsborough County

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The suspect accused of killing a man after carjacking his SUV in Valrico was hospitalized Tuesday after a reported suicide attempt at the Falkenburg Road Jail.

Officials with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office say James Hanson went into a yard during recreational shower time.

“He had a towel and underneath that towel, he had actually concealed a sheet that he folded up,” Crystal Clark with the sheriff’s office said.

Deputies say Hanson tied that sheet to a basketball goal in the recreational area. Officers found him hanging from the goal and performed life-saving measures, the sheriff’s office says.

Hanson was taken to Tampa General Hospital where he is in critical condition.

“Was he under suicide watch?” reporter Ryan Hughes asked.

“He’s not currently under suicide watch. And he was actually cleared by a psychologist, telling them he was not suicidal,” Clark said.

Hanson was charged with first-degree murder in the Aug. 6 death of 68-year-old Mathew Korattiyil.

Deputies say Hanson robbed a bank on State Road 60 right before Korattiyil pulled his white Lexus SUV into the parking lot. Hanson allegedly carjacked the vehicle at gunpoint and drove off with Korattiyil inside.

After leading deputies on a pursuit, Hanson crashed the vehicle and was apprehended. Korattiyil, however, was nowhere to be found.

Hours later, deputies found his body behind The Sacred Heart Knanaya Catholic Community Center, less than five minutes away from the bank.

Korattiyil and his family were members of the parish.

Investigators say Hanson has a lengthy criminal history, which includes arrests for assault, forgery, larceny, grand theft, trespassing and robbery with a firearm.

Hanson was sentenced to life in prison in 2002 for putting a gun in a teller’s face. But the sentence did not stand.

After filing multiple appeals, Hanson was released from prison in July after serving 15 years.

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