Autopsy Says Maury Inmate Killed Self, Clues Missing

An autopsy says a North Carolina prison inmate with a history of mental illness killed himself by covering his head with a plastic bag and strapping it down with a belt around his neck.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reported Wednesday some details of Johnny Lee Lewis' death at Maury Correctional Institution could not be independently verified because an officer cleaned his cell before Greene County Sheriff's investigators arrived.

The autopsy report says officials at the maximum security prison also refused to allow the medical examiner to see the plastic bag and belt found on the 55-year-old prisoner.

Correction Department spokesman Keith Acree says the cell should not have been cleaned before investigators arrived.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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