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Convicted murderer hangs himself in cell

Convicted murderer Danny Martin Gallegos hanged himself and was found dead in his prison cell Sunday night.

Besides the murder of an 18-year-old girl in 1990, Gallegos gained notoriety from a clever jailbreak from the Daggett County Jail two years ago when he and another inmate escaped through a security door and scaled a razor-wire fence.

The brazen escape in September 2007 earned Gallegos and fellow convicted murderer Juan Diaz-Arevalo nearly six days of paranoid freedom before police captured both men in southwestern Wyoming. They had assaulted and hijacked a truck from a retired Utah policeman. After a shoot-out in which Gallegos was wounded, the two men were arrested.

Gallegos had been held in a maximum-security cell at the Utah State Prison in Draper following his recapture. He has had "limited contact with other prisoners," said Angie Welling, prison spokeswoman.

"He was found (hanging) in his cell during a routine check that officers do every night," Welling said. "They immediately started resuscitation, but it was unsuccessful."

About 45 minutes later, the 51-year-old prisoner was pronounced dead.

Gallegos didn't have a cellmate and had never been on suicide watch before, Welling said. She wouldn't say what he used to hang himself, but noted suicide is "rare" in the prison.

"They (prison personnel) are usually pretty good about watching out for that kind of stuff," she said.

Gallegos was denied parole in 2005 and his next parole hearing was scheduled for 2025.