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A Wyoming man who was being held in a private Mississippi prison died of an apparent suicide this weekend, a Wyoming Department of Corrections official said Monday morning.

The man, Charles Edward Jones, died Saturday in the Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility, according to a statement from the Wyoming corrections department. He was incarcerated in the prison as part of a contract with CoreCivic, formerly known as Corrections Corporation of America, which has operated private prisons since the early 1980s.

Jones, 38, was serving a sentence of life without parole handed down in 2010 by a Laramie County judge for convictions of first-degree murder and aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon.

According to media accounts published at the time of his conviction, prosecutors told jurors Jones and another man entered a Cheyenne house party in July 2009, demanded money from an insurance settlement from a 21-year-old man and then killed him.

Wyoming prison officials began sending inmates last year to the Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility, in Tutwiler, Mississippi, to minimize staffing and space issues at Wyoming prisons. In the Monday statement, a corrections department spokesman said 89 Wyoming prisoners are being held in the Mississippi prison.

Housing a prisoner in Wyoming State Penitentiary costs about $131 dollars a day, spokesman Mark Horan said last year. The corrections department spends $70.42 per day for the prisoners held in Mississippi.

The Wyoming Department of Corrections, the Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility and local law enforcement are investigating Jones’s death.

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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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