Death row inmate hospitalized after apparent suicide attempt

Pruitt, 43, apparently tried to hang himself in his cell around 8 p.m. Thursday, said Georgia Department of Corrections spokeswoman Joan Heath. "Any time something like this occurs, we have an internal investigation, but right now we're treating it as a suicide attempt."

Details about Pruitt's condition were not made available Friday night. His attorney, reached by phone, declined comment. Pruitt has been on death row at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson since 1996, when he was  sentenced for the rape and murder of a 10-year-old Lumpkin County girl.

The April, 1992 attack followed an argument with his ex-wife, who kicked an intoxicated Pruitt out of the couple's mobile home. He broke into the trailer next door, where he raped and murdered Wendy Nicole Vincent. Pruitt slit the little girl's throat so deeply it nearly severed her head. DNA and blood evidence linked Pruitt to Vincent's murder, though in a 2006 interview he continued to claim his innocence.

"The darkness and despair of death rows can swallow you up, destroy your spirit and will to live," Pruitt told the web site, "Contact with the outside world brings light into an otherwise dark world."

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