Eddie Hatcher, Indian Activist Who Held Newspaper Staff Hostage, Dead At 51

The man who received worldwide attention for taking hostages at a North Carolina newspaper, then killed a man after he was released early from prison because he had AIDS, has died in prison.

A Department of Correction spokesman said 51-year-old Eddie Hatcher died Friday morning at Central Prison in Raleigh.

Hatcher was serving a life sentence for first-degree murder in the 1999 drive-by shooting death of Brian McMillian. Prosecutors said Hatcher was angry because McMillian was involved in a break-in at his mobile home.

In 1988, Hatcher and another man took hostages at The Robesonian, saying they were trying to call attention to corruption in the county. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison for kidnapping but released after five years because he developed AIDS.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)