Coroner identifies deceased Parchman inmate

Walter Gates

Updated - The coroner later identified the deceased person as Walter Gates, 25.

Posted: Jan 1, 2020 12:24 PM
Updated: Jan 3, 2020 11:05 AM

INDIANOLA, Miss. (WTVA) — A fight at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman left one inmate dead and injured several other inmates.

That word came from Sunflower County Sheriff James Haywood and Sunflower County Coroner Heather Burton.

According to the coroner, the fight among inmates happened in Unit 29 around 9 p.m. Tuesday and spread to other buildings within the unit. 

A prison doctor pronounced the inmate dead at 12:22 a.m. Wednesday.  The coroner did not get into the facility to the body until after 2:30 a.m.

Burton said the inmate who died suffered multiple stab wounds, possibly from a shank.

The coroner later identified the deceased person as Walter Gates, 25. He was convicted of burglary of an unoccupied dwelling in Coahoma County. He received a 10-year sentence on Feb. 13, 2015.

The fight happened just days after the state put all of its prisons on a lockdown because of a disturbance at the South Mississippi Correctional Institution in Greene County where an inmate died.

On Wednesday afternoon, MDOC released the following statement:

Movement remains restricted statewide in the prison system following a major disturbance late Tuesday night at the Mississippi State Penitentiary, where an inmate was killed and several others were injured.

Conditions at MSP are under control.

All state prisons, private prisons, and regional facilities are included in the lockdown for the sake of the safety of the public, staff, and inmates.

Additional information is unavailable because of the active investigation and in the interest of public safety.

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