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Inmate on inmate attack suspected in Wallens Ridge fatality

Stephen Igo • May 19, 2018 at 2:19 PM

BIG STONE GAP — Virginia Department of Corrections officials suspect an inmate on inmate attack led to the death of a prisoner at Wallens Ridge State Prison on Friday.

The DOC said the inmate was pronounced dead at Lonesome Pine Hospital in Big Stone Gap at approximately 2:45 p.m. Friday. The 55-year-old victim was not being identified pending notification of family.

The agency said the deceased inmate was serving a sentence of life plus 207 years for multiple robbery convictions, larceny, assault and battery, carjacking, and kidnap/abduction, among other convictions.

Wise County Commonwealth’s Attorney Chuck Slemp issued a statement late Friday that no charges had been leveled against other inmates as of that time pending conclusion of the investigation. Slemp’s office prosecutes cases brought against inmates at Wallens Ridge and Red Onion State Prison, near Pound, because both facilities are located in the county.

“I am currently working with the investigators from the Virginia Department of Corrections regarding the incident today at Wallens Ridge State Prison,” Slemp said. “This matter is still under investigation, and no decision has been made yet regarding the placement of charges.”

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