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Accused Coin Shop Killer Charles Sinclair Dies in Jail

October 31, 1990 GMT

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) _ A man suspected in the killings of a dozen coin workers in the United States and Canada died in an Anchorage jail Tuesday of an apparent heart attack, authorities said.

Charles T. Sinclair, 44, was fighting extradition to Montana to face murder charges in the slayings of two people in a coin shop in Billings, Mont., on July 31. He was arrested Aug. 13 near his home in Kenney Lake, 175 miles northeast of Anchorage.

Authorities said Sinclair was being sought for questioning in at least 12 slayings, most of them in the western United States.

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Sinclair suffered an apparent heart attack in a maximum-security cell at the jail, said state Corrections Commissioner Susan Humphrey-Barnett. Guards were unable to resuscitate him, she said.

The Alaska State Troopers were asked to investigate and an autopsy would likely be performed, she said. It is the first time an inmate has died at the 8-year-old jail, she said.

Sinclair had been taking medication for high blood pressure when he was admitted to the jail Aug. 15, as well as two narcotic-based drugs for pain and for a thyroid condition, Humphrey-Barnett said.

Medical staff at the jail discontinued his pain medication and cut in half his daily dosage of Inderal for high blood pressure. After Sinclair complained on Sept. 24, the 80-milligram dosage was reinstated, she said.

While at the jail, his blood-pressure readings hadn’t changed significantly, she said.

Sinclair also had been charged with wounding a coin shop owner in Murray, Utah, last May.

Investigators wanted to question Sinclair in connection with killing coin shop workers in Everett, Wash., in January 1980; Vacaville, Calif., in November 1986; Spokane, Wash., in July 1987; Kansas City, Mo., in March 1988; Watertown, N.Y., in September 1989; and Vancouver, British Columbia, on June 19.

Montana Gov. Stan Stephens requested Sinclair’s extradition on Aug. 23, and Alaska Gov. Steve Cowper approved it on Sept. 11. Sinclair had delayed his return to Montana partly on grounds that the state’s death penalty law is unconstitutional, Curtner said.