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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Second prisoner dies at Terre Haute federal prison

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By GEORGE HALE

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Mario Waters arrived at U.S. Penitentiary-Terre Haute last year. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

A prisoner has died at a high-security federal facility in Indiana, according to prison officials.

It was the second time since December that the U.S. Bureau of Prisons reported a death at the U.S. Penitentiary-Terre Haute.

Staff discovered Mario Waters, 35, unresponsive after “a perceived altercation with another incarcerated individual,” the prison bureau reported Monday.

They started life-saving measures and requested emergency services; after responding, employees “isolated and contained the incident,” the statement said. EMS workers transported Waters to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The bureau added that no other individuals were injured in the incident, which it said occurred shortly after midnight Sunday night.

Bureau officials said they notified the FBI of the death. An FBI spokesperson didn’t immediately return messages Monday, which was a holiday.

Court records indicate Waters arrived at the facility last April after a federal jury in Arkansas gave him a life sentence for conspiracy to sex traffic a child.

It was the second death inside the prison in as many months.

The first was a man in the “Special Confinement Unit,” or federal death row, on Dec. 1. Loved ones of Nasih Ra’id, whose legal name was Odell Corley, said he disclosed plans to kill himself weeks beforehand. They said he was trying to escape what he considered worsening conditions at the prison.

Ra’id’s death may be the first suicide since federal death row opened in 1999. But U.S. officials won’t say how Ra’id died or if his death is under investigation.

A federal jury in Indiana sentenced Ra’id to death in 2004 for his role in a deadly bank robbery. He was the only Indiana resident on U.S. death row.

All federal death sentences are carried out at the Terre Haute complex. But the U.S. hasn’t set an execution date since President Joe Biden took office.

Former President Donald Trump’s justice department carried out 13 federal executions in its final six months in office — far more than any administration in modern history.

Until last week, Biden’s justice department had declined to pursue new federal death sentences. On Friday, prosecutors filed documents indicating they intended to seek death for a white supremacist who killed 10 Black people at a New York supermarket.

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