Iowa inmate charged with murder in beating death at Fort Madison prison

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Lha Southideth-Whiten photo from Iowa Department of Corrections

FORT MADISON, Iowa (AP) — An inmate has been charged with second-degree murder in the October beating death of a fellow prisoner at Iowa’s maximum-security penitentiary.

A complaint filed Thursday, March 9, alleges that Lha Southideth-Whiten, 35, repeatedly punched Michael Whitworth during an altercation at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison.

The Associated Press reported in January that the death was the first homicide in an Iowa prison in six years.

The complaint filed by Lee County Attorney Ross Braden says Southideth-Whiten punched Whitworth in the face, causing him to fall backwards.

It says Southideth-Whiten continued to strike Whitworth while on the ground, even as he was bleeding heavily and appeared to be unconscious. Whitworth died at a hospital 10 days later.

If convicted, Southideth-Whiten faces a 50-year prison term. Court documents don’t list a defense attorney.

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