Autopsy reveals cancer killed prisoner

Posted July 14, 2011, at 12:04 p.m.
Last modified July 14, 2011, at 1:44 p.m.

WARREN, Maine — A convicted murderer serving a life sentence in Maine State Prison died earlier this month of bladder cancer, the Maine Medical Examiner’s office reported Thursday.

Robert Ingerson, 65, died July 9 of natural causes. The Maine State Police initially opened an investigation into the death, but soon called it off.

The inmate was transferred to Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport immediately before his death.

Ingerson was convicted in 1966 of stabbing his estranged wife to death while she walked home from work in Portland. He then apparently turned the knife on himself, according to media reports.

Although given a mandatory life sentence, Ingerson was released from prison a decade later under Maine’s now-defunct parole system. In 1980, he was arrested again and put on trial on charges that he raped a 16-year-old girl.

Ingerson was not convicted of those charges, but Maine’s Parole Board rescinded his parole and reinstated the life sentence. In 1985, Ingerson lost an appeal with theMaine Supreme Judicial Court seeking to reverse the Parole Board’s decision, according to court records.

In total, Ingerson served 45 years of a life sentence for killing his wife.

A bill passed by the Legislature earlier this year and signed by Gov. Paul LePage requires the medical examiner to review any deaths of inmates or people in police custody — including deaths likely the result of natural causes — in order to determine whether an autopsy is needed.

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