Mississippi prison officials announce more prisoner deaths

Published 9:51 am Wednesday, August 22, 2018

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Officials announced three more deaths of prison inmates on Tuesday, bringing to 10 the number of prisoners who have died so far in August.

Corrections Commissioner Pelicia Hall said in a statement that the department believes “most” of the deaths came from natural causes. She said prison officials are investigating but await information from autopsies about how inmates died. Spokeswoman Grace Fisher said she couldn’t give a number for how many inmates officials believe died from natural causes, and couldn’t say whether any preliminary autopsy results have yet been received.

Hall said the Department of Corrections “takes very seriously all deaths in its custody and investigates all of them to determine whether foul play is involved. The department recognizes and appreciates that the safety, security, and overall well-being of all individuals entrusted to its care are paramount to the agency’s mission.”

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Management & Training Corp. said Nija Syvallus Bonhomme, 24, died Monday at Wilkinson County Correctional Facility after a fight. Spokesman Issa Arnita said Bonhomme was found on the floor after the fight with another inmate in his cell. Arnita said medical personnel responded “immediately” after Bonhomme was found to the floor, but were unable to revive him. Bonhomme was sentenced to 20 years in prison by a Pearl River County judge for armed robbery and residential burglary.

Fisher said 63-year-old inmate James Myrick died Sunday at the hospital at Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman. He was sentenced to two years in prison by a Yalobusha County judge in 2016 for fondling.

Fisher also said a 10th inmate has died, but said she couldn’t name the inmate because death notifications haven’t been completed. The Clarion Ledger reports John Luttrell, 67, was pronounced dead at Merit Health Rankin hospital in Brandon shortly after 10 p.m. Monday, according to Rankin County Coroner David Ruth.

Luttrell was taken to the hospital from Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Pearl on Monday night, Ruth said. An autopsy will determine the manner and cause of death.