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Lost Gap prisoner suspected in death of his cellmate

By By William F. West / community editor
Aug. 20, 2002
Chief Deputy Mike Mitchell said a prisoner at East Mississippi Correctional Facility at Lost Gap is suspected in the death Monday of his cellmate.
Mitchell said the body of a prisoner not yet identified was discovered about 12:30 p.m. as the two men were locked down and waiting to be served lunch.
Mitchell said the presence of "lots of blood" and bruises indicated that the dead inmate sustained blunt force trauma to the body. An autopsy will be performed to determine the exact cause of death.
The man's cellmate was being held in isolation Monday in the privately-operated psychiatric prison.
No charges have been filed, but Mitchell and Danny Knight of the Mississippi Highway Patrol are investigating. Warden Aaron Jagers referred all calls to the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department.
Mitchell said no witnesses have come forward, and no weapon has been found.
The death marks the third apparent inmate-on-inmate attack at Lost Gap prison since May.
An inmate was stabbed in the chest with a piece of sharpened metal broken off a cyclone fence in mid-May. The victim was treated for a puncture wound to the chest at Rush Foundation Hospital.
In late June, an inmate sustained minor injuries when he was stabbed in the jaw with a similar weapon.
Jagers declined comment in these earlier cases as well, but one or both were scheduled to be presented to a Lauderdale County grand jury in July. The indictments handed down by the panel are expected to be released into the public record this month.
The name of the inmate who died Monday was being withheld pending notification of his family.
East Mississippi Correction Facility is a 100-acre prison opened in April 1999 by Wackenhut Corrections.