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Inmate death to be treated as homicide

January 11, 1999

Maryland State Police said Monday they would treat Friday's death of a Maryland Correctional Training Center inmate as a homicide, pending final autopsy results.

Mervin James Isley was found unconscious at 6:50 p.m. Friday following a physical altercation in the cell, according to Trooper 1st Class Michael Potter.

Isley's cellmate has been placed on administrative segregation in connection with the incident. No criminal charges have been filed, Potter said.

Maryland Division of Correction officials didn't release any information about the death or that it had even occurred until Monday afternoon.

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Meanwhile, the police investigation has been ongoing.

"We learned a physical altercation occurred in the cell," Potter said. "DOC personnel attempted to revive Isley."

Isley was serving a 23-year sentence for drug convictions dating from March 1998, according to Maxine Eldridge, DOC spokesman.

Potter said Isley is from Prince George's County. His next of kin have been notified, Potter said.

"The autopsy report is incomplete," Potter said Monday, reserving any further comment.

MCTC, with a population of more than 2,900 inmates, is the largest single prison in Maryland. More than 6,000 inmates are housed in the three prisons south of Hagerstown.

-Marlo Barnhart

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