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Scales of Justice

A 53-year-old Laramie man on Tuesday died in a Wyoming prison from a long-term illness, corrections officials said in a late Tuesday morning statement.

Lorenzo S. Montez was serving three consecutive sentences for two 2007 convictions of taking indecent liberties with a child and a single conviction of controlled substance possession. The immodest liberties law Montez violated has since been consolidated by state legislators into law prohibiting sexual abuse of children.

Montez was doing his time at the Wyoming Medium Correctional Institution when he died. He had completed his sentence for one of the sex crimes and was set to complete the second sentence in 2020, according to online corrections department records. He still would have had to satisfy the sentence for possession before release.

He was also convicted in 1998 of second-degree sexual assault, according to online Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation records.

Details in the corrections department statement regarding Montez’s death were sparse. The nature of his illness was not specified, and an agency spokesman said policy prevented him from further describing the illness.

Mark Horan, the spokesman, said by phone that Montez had been “sick for a while.” He said that Montez died in the Torrington prison’s infirmary unit and noted the corrections department provides “full medical care,” including hospice and geriatric treatment.

The corrections department has asked for an autopsy of Montez, which is typical when inmates die in Wyoming prisons.

Montez is the third person to die in a corrections department facility this year. A fourth man in Wyoming corrections department custody but held in a private Mississippi prison died by suicide in February.

The family of one man — Tyler Lane, of Laramie, who died in a Newcastle boot camp — has begun legal proceedings that would allow it to sue the agency. In late June a Weston County judge appointed Lane’s mother a wrongful death representative. The judge’s ruling did not make any finding as to the nature of Lane’s death or the agency’s culpability. It does, however, mean Lane’s mother can pursue an investigation into and lawsuit over his death.

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Follow crime reporter Shane Sanderson on Twitter @shanersanderson

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Crime and Courts Reporter

Shane Sanderson is a Star-Tribune reporter who primarily covers criminal justice. Sanderson is a proud University of Missouri graduate. Lately, he’s been reading Cormac McCarthy and cooking Italian food. He writes about his own life in his free time.

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