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Oak Park Heights inmate found strangled in prison cell

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The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating after an inmate was fatally strangled in his prison cell at the Oak Park Heights Correctional Facility.

WCCO reports the BCA says a fellow inmate captured by surveillance video entering the victim's cell is the only suspect in the case.

According to the Pioneer Press the suspect, Benjamin Beck, has been serving time since 2007 for robbery and burglary. Beck and another man broke into a Fillmore County home and tied up and robbed the occupant, the newspaper says.

Prison killings are not common, but they're not unheard of, either. Just yesterday an inmate at a federal penitentiary in Kentucky died of injuries sustained in a fight, WKYT reports.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics looked at the data on deaths among U.S. inmates from 2001 through 20007. Most resulted from illnesses, but the bureau's chart shows there were 376 homicides, making it the fourth-leading cause of death.

The facility in Oak Park Heights is a maximum custody prison. The Corrections Department says its inmates are sent there from other prisons and are classified as extreme risks to the public. It consists of nine complexes, each of which can operate independently. As of April it had 436 inmates, the state says.

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