JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — An inmate serving 15 years for multiple convictions died Thursday in the hospital of the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman.
The Department of Corrections said in a news release that an autopsy will be done on Linnon McClendon, 72. It said there were no signs of trauma, and it cited Sunflower County Coroner Heather Burton as saying McClendon's medical condition was probably declining because of his age.
McClendon was sentenced in Aug. 12, 2014, for convictions on nonresidential burglary, three counts of aggravated assault on a police officer and fleeing law enforcement. The department said all the crimes were committed on Sept. 7, 2013, in Yazoo County.
McClendon was at least the 35th inmate to die in a Mississippi prison since late December. The state prison system is under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department after several inmates were killed or injured during outbursts of violence in late December and early January.
Cases of the new coronavirus have been confirmed in Mississippi prisons, but Department of Corrections spokeswoman Grace Simmons Fisher told The Associated Press this week that the department will not release the names of inmates who die from it.
Gov. Tate Reeves said Wednesday that four inmates in the Mississippi prison system had tested positive for the coronavirus as of Tuesday, and 19 inmates have tested negative. He said a test for one inmate was still pending. The Department of Corrections previously said that one inmate who tested positive for the virus had died.
Four staff members for the Department of Corrections have tested positive for the virus, and at least one of those people has returned to work, Reeves said. He said 25 corrections staff members have tested negative, and test results for six others are still pending.
The Mississippi prison system has about 20,500 inmates in custody.