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Inmate dies after fight

March 28, 2007|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

A 47-year-old inmate at Lancaster state prison died Tuesday after suffering head injuries in a fight with his cellmate.

Authorities said the victim, whose name was not released, was declared dead at 12:05 p.m. at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills. He was airlifted to the hospital after being severely beaten in his cell about noon Monday.

Los Angeles County sheriff's detectives are investigating the case as a possible murder.

Officials said they did not know what triggered the fight.

Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said the inmate underwent surgery, and doctors determined he had suffered neurological damage. He died after being taken off life support.

Thornton said this was the third violent death of an inmate in the state prison system in the last two weeks.

She called the killings troubling, but said she did not know whether they could be linked to what is widely regarded as severe overcrowding in California's prisons.

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