MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Several law enforcement agencies are investigating the death of a Minnesota Correctional Facility inmate as a possible homicide.
According to the Minnesota Department of Corrections, the death occurred at the Rush City location Sunday. Corrections officers were doing their regular rounds at 11:30 p.m. when they discovered 56-year-old James Francis Howard. Howard, who was in his cell, had injuries to his face and head.
Howard’s cellmate was taken into custody when corrections officers entered the cell. Officers attempted life-saving measures but Howard was pronounced dead at 12:20 a.m. Monday.
The cellmate, who is 29 years old, was serving two sentences for assault with a release date in mid-May. Howard was serving a sentence for homicide with a release date set for May of 2034. Howard was charged and convicted of murdering his mother with a machete in Otter Tail County in 2011. The two men were cellmates within a temporary housing unit.
The DOC is releasing limited information at this time, but says the last time an incarcerated person died following an altercation with another incarcerated person was in 2013. That happened at the Oak Park Heights location.
The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office, and the DOC’s Office of Special Investigations are involved in the investigation.
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