4th inmate killed at Ohio prison in 13 months

TOLEDO, Ohio - An inmate attacked in his cell over the weekend died Monday, the fourth fatal assault in little over a year at Toledo Correctional Institution, the State Highway Patrol said.

The deadly attacks have come amid a rise of violence since the prison started doubling up inmates in the same cell to deal with overcrowding beginning in 2011.  Before September 2012, the prison had not had a fatal inmate-on-inmate assault since opening in 2000.

In the latest killing, investigators believe 38-year-old Michael Dodson was attacked by his cellmate Sunday morning, said patrol spokeswoman Lt. Anne Ralston. Authorities did not release details of the attack, including a possible motive.

Dodson, who died at a Toledo hospital, was serving a 40-year sentence for attempted murder and robbery in Seneca County.

A report by a legislative prison committee last month said inmate-on-inmate and inmate-on-staff assaults in Toledo jumped between 2010 and 2012. The report also said the state prison has Ohio's highest rates of inmate drug use, prisoner homicides and staff turnover.

Prisons spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said last month that violent incidents were down this year and that the state hired nine new guards, increased monitoring of disruptive inmates and boosted camera surveillance.

In August, two prisoners armed with softball bats beat another inmate in the prison's recreation yard, officials said.

An inmate already serving a life sentence for killing three teenage girls and a Bible studies teacher received a life term for strangling a fellow prisoner last September. Another inmate is awaiting trial on charges that he strangled a prisoner in March with a rope in his cell.

Warden Ed Sheldon said earlier this year that the percentage increase of inmate-on-inmate assaults about tracks the rate of increase of the prison population. As the prison added 350 new inmates since 2011, the number of assaults also increased.

New inmates included maximum security prisoners moved out of lower security facilities, and came from around the state increasing tensions among rival gangs. To accommodate them, the prison has been putting two people in a cell that originally housed one.

The prison has about 1,300 inmates, which is near capacity.

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