Prison inmate dies after severe beating

Posted June 08, 2011, at 9:25 a.m.
Last modified June 08, 2011, at 7:03 p.m.

WARREN, Maine — An inmate at Maine State Prison died Tuesday night after suffering a severe beating in the prison last month.

Lloyd Franklin Millett, 51, who was serving a life sentence for double murder, died at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor after he staying at the hospital in critical condition for more than a week.

Prison officials could not release any more details about the death.

“The State Police and the Medical Examiner were notified. Both are reviewing the death,” wrote Jody Breton, associate Department of Corrections commissioner, in a news release Wednesday morning.

Breton declined to say who might have beaten Millett, although previous BDN reports stated at least one other inmate hit him. She also said that because the case is under investigation she could not say if the death was directly related to the May 24 beating.

Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland said a team of detectives led by Sgt. Erik Baker has been working the assault case. As of Wednesday, no one was charged in Millett’s beating or death, and McCausland said no charges are pending.

“Now that he has died the investigation is continuing. There is more work to do,” McCausland said Wednesday morning. The beating and the death “may be related — we will know once the medical examiner makes their determination. Both aspects are part of the investigation.”

In the wake of two other high-profile prisoner deaths in 2009, state lawmakers passed legislation in April of this year requiring the state medical examiner to assess whether an autopsy is needed for a prison inmate who dies in custody. Gov. Paul LePage signed LD 168 in May.

Victor Valdez was an immigrant from the Dominican Republic who died in November 2009 while an inmate at Maine State Prison.

A lengthy investigation by the Maine Attorney General’s Office determined that Valdez, who suffered from kidney failure and other serious medical problems, died of natural causes. But a number of prisoners reported seeing guards severely beat Valdez and then deny him medical care.

An autopsy was not done before Valdez’s body was cremated, although the case was reviewed by the medical examiner’s office.

Earlier that year, Sheldon Weinstein died several days after the man, who used a wheelchair, apparently was beaten severely by other Maine State Prison inmates. An autopsy was performed in that case, but Weinstein’s widow has filed suit claiming that prison employees failed to provide proper medical care for the convicted sex offender and looked the other way when inmates beat him.

Millett was convicted in 1997 of killing two women over the course of a weekend in early November 1995 while he was a farmhand in Turner. According to Bangor Daily News archives, the victims were Terrie Lizotte, 39, of Canton and Rachelle Anne Williams, 33, of Gorham, N.H.

Williams’ body was found Nov. 6, 1995, in a field near the Ramada Inn in Lewiston, where she was attending a business meeting. She was last seen alive in a hotel lounge but disappeared after she left to go to a restroom and never returned. Williams’ raped and strangled body was found the next day.

Millett met his other victim, Lizotte, at a Turner nightclub on Nov. 3, 1995. He took her home and had consensual sex with her before killing her, according to the BDN’s archives. Lizotte’s body was found by Millett’s ex-girlfriend, who recently had moved out of his home but returned to retrieve her belongings.

Millett, a native of Rumford, pleaded guilty to both murders at one point in the case, though he later had a motion to reverse his pleas denied by the court. He was sentenced to 70 years in prison for Lizotte’s murder and a concurrent life sentence for killing Williams.

Millett had a lengthy criminal record before the murders, including a 1991 rape conviction for which he was sentenced to eight years in prison with four years suspended.

BDN writers Chris Cousins and Kevin Miller contributed to this report.

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