Valrico carjacking and murder suspect attempted to take his own life in jail

The man accused of killing his carjacking victim was hospitalized after attempting to take his own life at a Hillsborough County jail, deputies said.

Around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, officials said 39-year-old James Hanson Jr. went into the jail's yard when it was time for inmates to shower or participate in recreational activities. They said he attempted to use a sheet to hang himself by tying it to a basketball goal.

Officials said he concealed the sheet under a towel. A deputy intervened and performed CPR. Hanson was taken to Tampa General Hospital, where he remained in critical condition Tuesday evening.

"Our deputies are trained to save lives. They don't care if it's an inmate in a jail or just a regular citizen out on the street," said Crystal Clark, a sheriff's office spokesperson. In the case with Mr. Hanson, when they saw him hanging there, they immediately went into that life-saving mode."

Clark said Hanson was initially placed on suicide watch when he arrived at the jail, but he was recently taken off of it. He was currently on administrative confinement, which means he was housed alone in a cell and allowed in the rec area by himself.

"During that time, there's always a deputy who's monitoring them, checking in every so often just to make sure they're okay," Clark said. "Usually the deputy is supposed to check-in at the maximum every 30 minutes and that was the case here with this deputy. The person was going back as he should, checking to make sure nothing was wrong and we're fortunate that he did come at the time that he did."

Hanson has a lengthy criminal history and was initially serving a life sentence for a robbery conviction. Last month, he was released on appeal after 16 years last month.

About a week ago, deputies said Hanson was armed when he robbed the CenterState Bank in Valrico, assaulted someone who tried to interfere, then carjacked a man -- later identified as 68-year-old Mathew Korattiyil. 

Hanson is accused of strangling Korattiyil. His body was found a few hours after the carjacking behind the Sacred Heart Knanaya Catholic Community Center on Washington Road.