2 Mississippi inmates die; 1 was in Colorado federal prison

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi Department of Corrections says one inmate has died at an in-state prison and another man convicted in Mississippi has died at a federal prison in Colorado.

Thomas C. Parker, 40, died Tuesday at Northwest Mississippi Medical Center in Clarksdale. He was serving life without parole at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman for capital murder. He pleaded guilty Oct. 4, 2010, to fatally stabbing a homeowner during a robbery in DeSoto County. He was also convicted of possession of contraband within a correctional facility in Marshall County.

Lamarcus Lee Hillard, 40, died Saturday at a federal prison in Florence, Colorado. A state Department of Corrections spokeswoman said in response to a question Thursday that he had been moved there for security reasons.

Hillard was serving 45 years for two convictions He received 25 years in January 2003 for possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute in Hinds County and 20 years in February 2008 for manslaughter in Sunflower County.

Autopsies were set for both Parker and Hillard.

Parker was at least the 77th inmate to die in Mississippi prisons since late December. Several inmates died during outbursts of violence in late December and early January. The U.S. Justice Department announced in February that it is investigating the state’s prison system.