By Sharna Johnson, Freedom Newspapers
A convicted felon and a defendant involved in unrelated high-profile local criminal cases committed suicide within the last month, officials said.
Scott Kirby, 23, of Portales, sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison in February for his role in the theft of $600,000 from an armored car service, died March 14 at the Department of Correction’s intake center in Los Lunas.
Using a bed sheet, Kirby hung himself in his cell while being held at the department’s Reception and Diagnostic Center at the Central New Mexico Correctional Facility, Tia Bland, public information officer for the DoC, said Friday.
Bland said she could not comment on Kirby’s mental state prior to his death, citing medical privilege.
Bryan Storseth, 45, of Clovis died April 3 in Sacramento, Calif., while awaiting trial on felony child abuse charges. Attorney Dan Lindsey said his client hung himself at his mother’s home. Storseth had been allowed by the court to travel to California so he could be with his mother, who has been ill.
An October trial had been scheduled.
Kirby, originally from Elizabethtown, Ky., had been an armored truck driver for Albuquerque-based courier company Respond. He was assigned to pick up money from Clovis and Portales businesses.
In March 2006, he picked up more than $600,000 in cash and checks, but failed to deposit it.
Two others were also charged in the case. One awaits trial and the other was placed on probation.
Kirby’s sister, Heather Darnell, of Elizabethtown, Ky., said her family had spoken to her brother in the days leading up to his death and heard no signs of suicidal feelings. She said her brother was prepared to serve his time.
“The last letter my mother received from him was saying, ‘This is what God has chosen for me.’ He was looking forward to coming home,” she said.
Darnell said the family has hired a private investigator to look into the matter.
Storseth was accused of restraining his 15-year-old daughter with chains and beating her in June 2006, according to court records. He had been released on bond while awaiting trial, records show.
Chrissy Storseth, 46, of Clovis, said because of a no-contact order by the court she had not been able to speak with her husband since July.
“It’s very shocking because we still don’t believe my husband took his life. My husband never would have done that,” she said.
Chrissy Storseth, the child’s stepmother, is charged with felony abandonment or abuse of a child in connection with the allegations. She was released on a $5,000 bond in July and will stand trial in October, records show.
Bryan Storseth’s daughter was placed in foster care, Lindsey said.
Lindsey described his client as a family man with no prior history of violence who became depressed because the court order prevented contact with his family before trial.
“He was absolutely innocent (and) we had the evidence to produce,” Lindsey said.