SMYRNA — A 69-year-old inmate at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center died from an apparent stab wound after being attacked by his cellmate, Delaware State Police spokesman Cpl. Jason Hatchell said.
Troopers were dispatched to the prison at 8:13 a.m. Monday for a reported homicide, and Cpl. Hatchell said the wounded inmate was pronounced dead at the scene.
“The suspect reported to prison staff that the victim was dead inside of his cell,” Cpl. Hatchell added.
“Items have been recovered, but it is unconfirmed the exact weapon used,” he said.
The deceased prisoner’s cellmate, a 55-year-old man, remained in custody of the Delaware Department of Correction. Police said charges and execution of an arrest warrant were pending.
The deceased inmate’s body was turned over to the Division of Forensic Science, where an autopsy will be performed to determine the manner and cause of death.
Identification of the victim is pending notification of next of kin. His cellmate’s name will also be released once he is formally charged, Cpl. Hatchell said.
According to Deputy Bureau Chief of Prisons Paul Shavack, the DOC “is fully cooperating and assisting the Delaware State Police with the investigation, which occurred in a medium-security housing unit.”
Mr. Shavack said the prison “was immediately placed on a full-lockdown status when discovered and remained on lockdown for an extended period of time.”
Citing the ongoing nature of the investigation, Mr. Shavack said he could not “release any further details pertaining to the incident, as to not compromise the integrity of the continued investigative efforts.”
Additionally, Mr. Shavack said, the DOC “continuously reviews comprehensive security protocols and facility policies in order to maintain a safe environment for our staff, inmates and visitors.”
DSP asked anyone with information to contact Detective Csapo of the Homicide Unit by calling 741-2729. Information may also be provided by calling Delaware Crime Stoppers at (800) TIP-3333 or by visiting here.