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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ogden man killed in his cell at Utah State Prison

11-24-2009 Utah:

SALT LAKE CITY -- The Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office is investigating why a fight between two cellmates resulted in the death of an Ogden man at Utah State Prison.

Mark Helms, 47, was pronounced dead at the scene Sunday, said Salt Lake Sheriff's Lt. Don Hutson.

The sheriff's office has an agreement with the Department of Corrections to investigate any incident that results in bodily injury or death at the prison, he said.

Salt Lake County sheriff's officers were called to the prison after corrections officers were made aware of an unresponsive inmate.

"He was locked in a cell with another prisoner," Hutson said.

Emergency personnel attempted to revive Helms, but were unsuccessful, Hutson said.

"It appears the two got into a verbal argument, which escalated to a physical altercation," he said.

Athian Kuot Mawien punched Helms in the face several times, then used "common materials found in the cell to strangle him," Hutson said.

An autopsy on Helms had not been completed by Monday afternoon, Hutson said, but Helms had suffered traumatic injuries to his head and face.

Mawien, 29, was arrested and booked in Salt Lake County Jail on murder charges.

Hutson said the D Block, where the two inmates were housed, was in lockdown when the fight occurred, "so we didn't have to look far for a suspect."

The D Block is mostly occupied by sex offenders.

Helms pleaded guilty to second-degree felony sexual abuse of a child and third- degree felony dealing in materials harmful to a minor in 1998 in 2nd District Court in Farmington.

He was sentenced to serve one year in Davis County Jail.

In 1999, he was arrested and charged with 13 felonies relating to child sex abuse.

He pleaded guilty to five counts and was sentenced in 2000 to serve six years to life in prison.

Mawien was sentenced to serve seven years to life in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of first-degree felony attempted aggravated sex assault and second-degree felony forcible sex abuse. ..Source.. by Loretta Park (Standard-Examiner Davis Bureau )

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