Convicted serial killer Donald Harvey, shown here in this Nov. 2, 1987, file photo, was found beaten in his cell at the state’s prison in Toledo earlier this year. Harvey is one of four Ohio inmates killed in homicides this year after the state had just one in 2016 and none in 2015. Harvey was 64. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke, File)
Photo: Ed Reinke
Photo: Ed Reinke

Prison bus killing one of four inmate murders in Ohio this year

Since 2000, Ohio has had 31 homicide deaths involving prisoners.

Records from the Ohio Highway Patrol, which investigates crimes at state prisons, and the Correctional Institution Inspection Committee document violent attacks involving bats, fists, shanks, razor blades and more.

In a report released in 2015, the CIIC detailed 26 homicides between 2000 and 2014. The patrol records show no homicides in 2015, one in 2016 and four so far this year.

Inmate Casey Pigge beat his cellmate, Luther Wade, to death with a cinder block in Lebanon Correctional in February 2016.

Related: Victim’s mom wanted killer to get death penalty

In February 2017, Pigge pleaded guilty to Wade’s murder. Two days after appearing in court wrapped in a straitjacket on the Wade case, Pigge was traveling on a prison bus between Columbus and Lucasville when inmate David Johnson was strangled to death. Pigge is now charged with Johnson’s murder.

Related: Guards didn’t know inmate was being murdered on bus

On March 28, inmate Donald Harvey died after being beaten in a prison cell at Toledo Correctional Institution. Harvey, a former nurse’s aide who proclaimed himself an ‘Angel of Death,’ was serving multiple life sentences for killing 37 elderly and ill patients in hospitals in Ohio and Kentucky, beginning in 1970. Harvey poisoned his victims’ food, suffocated them with pillows or failed to refill their oxygen tanks.

The CIIC report says 73 percent of the 26 homicide victims between 2000 and 2014 were white, most of the attacks happened in housing units and involved no weapons other than a fist. Fourteen victims were struck, six were strangled, five were stabbed and one was thrown off a balcony. Weapons used include fists, shanks, sheets, electrical cord, softball bat, pencils and a pipe.

Most of the attacks happened with little to no premeditation and stemmed from small conflicts that escalated, the report said. For more the CIIC report, click here.

“Ohio has a lower rate of homicides in its prison population than the national average,” the CIIC reported. Ohio’s rate is three per 100,000 inmates over a 12 year period compared with the national rate of four per 100,000.

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