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Bankruptcy Lawyer Leapt to Death from Office Building After Minor Drug Charge

Posted Mar 14, 2012 3:48 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A South Florida bankruptcy lawyer committed suicide Friday morning by leaping from near the top of an 11-story Fort Lauderdale office building in which his own law office was located, authorities say.

Stephen David Jerome was 61.

He had been released on bond from the Broward County Jail hours before his death after being charged with minor drug offenses when small amounts of marijuana and oxycodone were found in a search of his Fort Lauderdale home, according to the Miami Herald.

However, authorities are quoted saying they weren't searching for drugs but child pornography. They took away Jerome's computer and related equipment for further investigation, which is continuing.

Jerome had been charged in 1990 with sexual performance by a child after authorities said they found European child-porn magazines in his bedroom closet. He pleaded no contest two years later and was sentenced to probation and community service.

His lawyer, Mark Skipper, said at the time that Jerome, who shared the house with others, never admitted guilt. However, prosecutors who obtained his diaries "were just putting so much pressure on him for two years that he couldn’t take it. He just wanted to end it," Skipper told the newspaper at the time of his client's plea.

Although distraught about his arrest, Jerome seemed to be moving on with his life and was at work at 9 a.m. Friday, his colleague and friend, Jodi Fisher, told the South Florida Gay News. But as Fisher later found out, Jerome executed a new will, naming her as his personal representative, and then jumped from a small balcony on a higher floor of the building.

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