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Report: Inmate’s death at Ohio prison ruled a homicide

June 3, 2021 GMT

ORIENT, Ohio (AP) — The death of an inmate who died in his cell at an Ohio prison earlier this year has been ruled a homicide.

Michael McDaniel, 55, died Feb. 6 after he became combative and injured two guards who had tried to remove him from his cell at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction stated at the time. McDaniel declined medical attention, according to officials, but later collapsed and was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The guards were treated for their injuries and released.

The Columbus Dispatch, citing an autopsy it obtained through a public records request, reported that the Franklin County Coroner’s office said the manner of McDaniel’s death was homicide and ruled the cause of death was “stress induced sudden cardiac death.”

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The autopsy details blunt force injuries to his head, face, shoulders, wrists, hands, knees, feet, toes and abdomen. McDaniel, who received CPR, also had multiple rib fractures, and the coroner found evidence of heart disease.

Online prison records show McDaniel was serving a six-month prison sentence for aggravated assault. He was admitted to prison on Jan. 26, about two weeks before his death, according to state prison records.

His death is still under investigation by the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. The DRC expects to conclude its inquiry in the next few weeks, the newspaper reported.

Twelve weeks after McDaniel’s death, the DRC placed three employees — Lt. Bruce Brown and corrections officers Heath Causey and Kristy Judd — on paid administrative leave, the newspaper reported. A fourth employee, officer Sarah Cline, remains off work “due to the injuries she sustained during the incident,” DRC Communications Chief JoEllen Smith told the newspaper.