Las Vegas Sun

November 20, 2014

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Another Nevada prison inmate dies, the second in as many days

Ward Bolinger

Ward Bolinger

The body of another prison inmate was discovered today, adding to a growing string of deaths within the Nevada Department of Corrections.

Ward Bolinger, 64, is the seventh Nevada prison inmate to die since early October. His lifeless body was discovered Friday inside his cell at High Desert State Prison, where he was serving up to 20 years for attempting to sexually assault a victim under 14 and for attempted lewdness with a minor. He had been behind bars for the crimes since March 2012.

An autopsy will be performed in Clark County, where Bolinger’s case originated.

He was the second inmate to die in as many days. On Thursday, Robert Luttrell, 62, was found dead in his cell at Ely State Prison. Luttrell had been in prison since September 2006 serving a sentence of up to 30 years for robbery with a deadly weapons enhancement. His case originated in Washoe County.

On Nov. 8, Truman Walker was discovered in his cell at High Desert State Prison after he hanged himself, according to the Clark County Coroner’s Office.

Walker, 67, had been at High Desert in Indian Springs since August 2000. He was serving a sentence for open and gross lewdness.

Four inmates died in October at the Northern Nevada Correctional Center in Carson City.

They are Richard Ferst, who died Oct. 5 and was serving a sentence for burglary, grand larceny and possession of stolen items; convicted cop killer Larry Peck, 62, who died Oct. 4; Joseph Oxford-McArthur, 31, who was serving a one- to three-year sentence for domestic battery and was found unconscious inside his cell Oct. 21 before dying four days later at an area hospital; and an unidentified inmate who died at a medical facility inside the prison Oct. 21 (his name is not yet public because prison officials have not notified relatives). Officials have ruled out foul play in all of the deaths except for Oxford-McArthur’s.

Nevada Department of Corrections officials have declined to discuss the circumstances of any of the October deaths, raising questions about inmate care from relatives and the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada.

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