Mississippi prison system announces 2 more deaths of inmates

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi Department of Corrections on Friday announced the deaths of two inmates, saying that one of them will be buried at a prison because the department could not find his relatives.

Charles William Morris, 72, died Sept. 14 at the Merit Health Central hospital in Jackson. He will be buried at Central Mississippi Correctional Facility, where he had been serving his sentence.

Morris was serving life plus 25 years for murder and rape convictions. He was sentenced Nov. 7, 2002, after being convicted of killing and raping a homeowner whose body was found in a shallow grave several days after she went missing in Harrison County. The Mississippi Court of Appeals upheld his conviction in 2004.

Danny Kaye Watts, 66, died Thursday at the hospital of the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, where he had been since Sept. 17. Watts was serving 20 years. He was sentenced Dec. 2, 2008, for unlawful touching of a child and sexual battery in Pike County.

Autopsies were set for Watts and Morris.

Watts was at least the 79th 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.