A former death row inmate serving life behind bars for the killing of his wife and two stepdaughters was killed in prison, officials confirmed. Dayva Cross, 62, had been killed at about 1:15 p.m. on Sunday, The Washington State Department of Corrections (WSDC) confirmed.
According to the Union-Bulletin, Cross was found dead in a shower at the Washington State Penitentiary. His death is being considered as a homicide, the Walla Walla County Coroner’s office confirmed, the outlet added.
An investigation into the death has since been launched, A WSDC spokesperson said. Prison officials worked closely with the Walla Walla Police Department (WWPD).
The Union-Bulletin reported a suspect, who has since been relocated to the “appropriate housing” until the investigation has ended, has been identified by prison officials.
For the 1999 murders of his wife and two stepdaughters in King County, Washington, in 2001, Cross was sentenced to death. Later, after the Washington Supreme Court ruled, in 2018, that the state’s use of capital punishment was unconstitutional, his sentence was converted to life in prison.
In 2018, the number of homicides in state prisons reached a record high of 120, according to a recent report by Prison Policy Initiative.
It added: “While prisons are secure, they are largely unsafe. Violence in prison is commonplace, tied to trauma before incarceration as well as mental health stressors inside.”
Instances where inmates have been killed while serving their sentences have been previously reported by Newsweek.
A teenager serving life behind bars at a California jail was allegedly attacked and killed by two of his fellow inmates, In February.
On Friday, February 18, Christopher Dolan, 30, and Michael Ellison, 39, allegedly attacked Michael Hastey, 19, at High Desert State Prison (HDSP) in Susanville.
Dolan and Ellison used “manufactured weapons” to carry out the attack, alleged the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).
“A CDCR news release said: “Officers immediately responded by using chemical agents and batons to quell the incident.
“Responding staff transported Hastey to the prison medical facility where health care staff performed life-saving measures. Hastey was pronounced deceased at 12:05 p.m.”
According to CW affiliate KTLA, Hastey had been sentenced to a life with parole sentence after stabbing Nathan Purdue during a jealous rage in January 2019.
Investigations into the death were launched by the Lassen County Sheriff’s Office and HDSP. The Officer of the Inspector General was also notified.