Prison inmate faces assault charges after fight, deathSPRINGFIELD (AP) — A South Dakota inmate who fought with his cellmate as he served the final day of a five-year sentence has been charged with assault after the cellmate subsequently died.
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A South Dakota inmate who fought with his cellmate as he served the final day of a five-year sentence has been charged with assault after the cellmate subsequently died.
Dennis Lashley, 62, was found unresponsive in his room at the Mike Durfee State Prison in Springfield on Tuesday and pronounced dead the same day at a hospital in Tyndall.
State Corrections Secretary Dennis Kaemingk said it did not appear that Lashley's death was related to the alleged fight with Kendall Osteen, 49, earlier in the day, according to media reports.
Sara Rabern, a spokeswoman for the state attorney general's office, said the investigation was ongoing and the cause of death was not immediately being released.
Authorities said the fight, which was captured on surveillance video, appeared to stem from an argument over a TV remote control. Authorities said Osteen told them Lashley grabbed him by the throat, and that he punched Lashley in the nose.
Osteen had been scheduled to be released Tuesday after serving his sentence on a fourth-offense drunken driving conviction in Pennington County. Rabern told the media that the sentence was considered complete. However, Osteen had bond set at $20,000 on the assault charge and corrections officials said he was still in custody, though they would not say where.
Lashley had been serving 10 years in prison on a fifth-offense drunken driving conviction in Minnehaha County.
Kaemingk said he thinks staff at the prison handled the situation appropriately and that there is no need for changes.
"I found that all staff followed policy and procedure," he said. "They did an excellent job in their response to securing the scene, and of separating potential witnesses. All that will be reviewed in a formal manner over the next few days, but at this point, I believe all of the staff acted properly, and I'm very proud of their actions."