Jailed ex-officer in murder plot beaten to death

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A former Bureau of Prisons officer who was serving time behind bars for an inappropriate sexual relationship with an inmate and a plot to kill his wife, as well as a separate plot to kill a federal agent who was investigating him, has been beaten to death at a federal prison in Indiana, two people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.

Michael Rudkin died Tuesday, a day after he was beaten in an altercation with another inmate at USP Terre Haute, a high-security penitentiary in Indiana, the people said. His death is being investigated as a potential homicide. The people were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

USP Terre Haute is also home to the federal death row and was the prison where 13 executions were carried out in the waning months of the Trump presidency. Rudkin, however, was not a death-row inmate and was serving a 90-year prison sentence.

The Bureau of Prisons said Rudkin was found unresponsive at the prison around 6:30 p.m. on Monday and staff members began administering medical attention and called for emergency medical crews. He was taken to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries and died on Tuesday.

His death is the latest in a rash of incidents for the federal Bureau of Prisons. In the last two years the AP has exposed one crisis after another, including rampant spread of coronavirus inside prisons and a failed response to the pandemic, escapes, deaths and critically low staffing levels that have hampered responses to emergencies, as well as serious misconduct.

Rudkin worked for the Bureau of Prisons as a correctional officer at a federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut, and was convicted in 2009 after he was involved in a sexual relationship with a female inmate and plotted with her to kill his wife.

He had been in the sexual relationship with the woman from October 2007 to January 2008 and promised to pay her $5,000 to arrange for his wife’s murder, according to prosecutors. His plan included making periodic payments to her commissary account to pay off the debt.

While he was serving his sentence in that case, Rudkin solicited help from other inmates to find someone outside of the prison to kill a federal agent with the Justice Department’s inspector general’s office, his ex-wife and others. Prosecutors said he had made an initial payment of $500 as part of that murder-for-hire plot and had promised more money would be coming.

He had been held at Terre Haute, which houses more than 1,100 male inmates, since July 2017.

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