April 17, 2014

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Prisoner killed during altercation at Grafton Correctional Institution

GRAFTON — A prisoner at Grafton Correctional Institution was killed Sunday during an altercation with his cellmate.

Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction spokeswoman Ricky Seyfang said prison officials aren’t releasing the name of the inmate who was killed because all family members haven’t been notified of his death.

Ohio Highway Patrol Lt. Anne Ralston said her agency is investigating the death as a homicide, although no one has been charged in connection with the incident. The patrol, which handles investigations of crimes committed in state prisons, was called to Grafton Correctional about 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

“There was some sort of altercation between two inmates at the facility,” she said.

Ralston said the death took place in the cell the two men shared, but couldn’t release details Monday on what investigators have determined so far. She declined to release any identifying information for either inmate.

Seyfang said Grafton Correctional is a minimum- and medium-security facility that houses 1,950 inmates.

Although this was the first homicide at Grafton Correctional this year, there has been a spate of violent deaths in Ohio’s prison system this year.

In August, 32-year-old James Oglesby, who was serving a life sentence for the 2006 beating death of Michael Smith in Lorain, was beaten to death by two other prisoners armed with softball bats. At the time, Oglesby was being held at the Toledo Correctional Institution, where two other inmates have been killed since September 2012.

The prison system also has been grappling with high-profile hangings as well this year.

Ariel Castro, the Cleveland man who held three women prisoners in his home, was found hanged in his cell in September, although it remains unclear whether he committed suicide or was engaged in autoerotic asphyxiation.

Also this year, death row inmate Billy Slagle hanged himself in August, just days before he was scheduled to be executed.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.