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Man responsible for 1994 murder commits suicide

8-28-2012 Iowa:

A man who kidnapped, raped and murdered a Johnston woman in 1994 has killed himself in prison, authorities said.

Jerry Lee Proctor, 42, hung himself Friday at maximum-security Anamosa State Penitentiary, the Iowa Department of Corrections said. An autopsy was being conducted to confirm the cause of death as asphyxiation.

The body of Patricia Howlett, 38, a mother of two, was found in November 1994. She had been raped and beaten. Her throat had been slit and her body set afire in a softball complex north of Des Moines.

Proctor was arrested over a year later before being convicted of first-degree murder and beginning his life sentence in 1997.

Investigators later tried to tie Proctor to other killings, but he denied involvement. He also denied killing Howlett.

Corrections Department spokeswoman Lettie Prell said Proctor was housed in a close security unit, which requires a higher level of supervision than the general population. Prell said she did not know what materials Proctor used to hang himself, or why guards didn’t thwart the suicide.

Prison employees responded quickly, she said, got Proctor down and got him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead 45 minutes later. ..Source.. by

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