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Piqua man strangled with garrote in Warren County prison

A garrote, a tool used to kill someone by strangulation, was found around the neck of a Miami County inmate on Monday at Lebanon Correctional Institution, according to the initial investigative report.

Kevin Nill, 40, of Piqua, was less than a month from the end of an 18-month sentence for domestic violence in Miami County when he was pronounced dead at 9:43 a.m. Monday at the Atrium Medical Center, according to investigators and Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction records.

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“The victim inmate was found unresponsive in his cell with a garrotte around his neck at Lebanon Correctional Institution. The victim inmate was transported to Atrium Medical Center where he was later pronounced deceased,” Trooper Laura Harvey said in a report obtained today by this newspaper.

Doyle Burke, chief investigator for the Warren County Coroner’s Office, said Wednesday an autopsy and other evidence determined Nill was strangled to death in his cell at Lebanon Correctional Institution on Monday, according to authorities.

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The incident at the prison on Ohio 63, west of Lebanon, Harvey’s report said, lists the offense as murder, although no charges have been filed.

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Nill was to be released on May 24, according to on-line Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction records.

He was not hanging when he was found and injuries were consistent with strangulation, which was determined to be the cause of death, Burke said.

According to prison and court records, Judge Jeannine Pratt sentenced Nill to 18 months in prison on April 20, 2017. With credit for time served, he was scheduled for release on May 24.

On April 7, 2017, a motion for a competency evaluation was withdrawn and Nill pleaded guilty to attempted domestic violence.

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The sentencing was delayed so that a pre-sentence investigation could be completed, according to on-line Miami County records.

The case stemmed from an assault on a relative, according to police reports. Pratt’s sentence followed a recommendation shared by the prosecutor and Nill’s lawyer, according to court records.

His prior record in Miami County Common Pleas Court listed a series of cases dating back to 1996 and including escape, receiving stolen property, felonious assault, kidnapping, violation of a protective order, domestic violence and attempted violence, including 2009 and 2015 cases in both of which he was sentenced to 11 months in prison.

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Harvey declined to comment on the case, while the investigation continued.

Prison officials confirmed the fatality and investigation, but provided no other information.

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