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Inmate suspected in death of fellow Western Md. prisoner

An inmate at the Western Correctional Institution died after being found unconscious in his cell late Friday, and a second prisoner is being blamed for his death in the latest episode of violence within Maryland's prison system, state police said Saturday.

Jason T. Wallace, 29, was found lying on the floor of his cell in the Cumberland prison about 9:30 p.m. during the inmates' recreation period, according to a preliminary investigation. Prison officers administered medical aid but were unable to revive him.

Police said the cause of death wasn't immediately known. Wallace's body was transported to the medical examiner's office for an autopsy. He had been serving a sentence for robbery, officials said.

Reached by phone, his brother Gilbert Wallace said he had little information from police about the death and hoped to get answers.

"I want to know what happened," he said.

Police said the suspect will not be identified until charges are filed.

A spokesman for the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services said detectives from the agency's internal investigation unit are assisting with the probe, but referred questions to the state police.

Violence has plagued another correctional facility in Western Maryland, the North Branch Correctional Institution, also in Cumberland. Over the summer, more than a dozen officers were injured in altercations with inmates between late June and late August. The prison's security chief was removed from his post there.





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