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Suspect in husband's death attempts suicide

By ROBERT KING, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 31, 2002

BROOKSVILLE -- A woman awaiting extradition to California in the horse tranquilizer death of her husband used a "meticulously braided bedsheet" to try to hang herself Saturday in the Hernando County Jail.

Laren Renee Sims, 36, was in critical condition Saturday at Brooksville Regional Hospital. "I can't say whether she is going to make it or not but right now it doesn't look good," said Hernando sheriff's Lt. Phillip Wood.

Wood said Sims threaded the sheet through an air vent in the ceiling and hanged herself.

Jail officers said they had regularly checked on Sims every 15 minutes. Although she was not considered a suicide risk, she was held in the medical wing, authorities said, where she could be more regularly observed.

"It's under investigation as to how that would happen," Wood said. "She had this pretty well planned out. I know the jail is pretty good about making those rounds."

Sims was transferred to Hernando after her March 18 arrest in the Panhandle town of Destin.

Sims is accused in California of killing her husband, Sacramento lawyer Larry McNabney, 52.

She told police her husband died after she and Sarah Dutra, a 21-year-old college student who worked with her in McNabney's office, gave him horse tranquilizers in a Los Angeles hotel room.

Eventually she came to Florida, where she has ties -- authorities said her mother lives north of Brooksville -- and a criminal history, including a 1989 conviction in Hernando for burglary, larceny and dealing in stolen property.

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