Two years later, inmate homicide investigation remains incomplete

Posted June 16, 2011, at 10:22 p.m.
Last modified June 16, 2011, at 10:42 p.m.

WARREN, Maine — The Maine Attorney General’s Office is still investigating the death of a Maine State Prison inmate two years and two months ago.

Bill Stokes, chief of the Maine AG’s criminal division, said Thursday he could not provide any information about the investigation or how much longer it might take.

Sheldon Weinstein was 64 when he died in the Maine State Prison in April 2009.

Meanwhile, Weinstein’s wife’s attorney expects the state to charge several prison inmates next month with the assault on Weinstein that led to his death.

Weinstein, who used a wheelchair, died of blunt force injuries evidently received at the hands of other inmates, according to Bangor Daily News reports at the time.

At the time, Weinstein’s wife, Janet, had threatened a $1 million wrongful death lawsuit against the prison. That is still a possibility, Janet Weinstein’s attorney Scott Gardner said Thursday. Gardner has been in negotiations with the state.

“If an agreement can’t be reached with the state, then a compliant will be filed,” Gardner said. The lawsuit would be filed against the prison and its employees, who Gardner said “were deliberately indifferent to the medical needs of Sheldon Weinstein and did not protect him.”

Gardner said that based on information he heard from the state, he expects the inmates who beat Weinstein to be indicted for their crimes in July, which is when the Knox County Grand Jury will next rise.

Since Weinstein’s death, two other inmates have died in the state prison.

One of them, Lloyd Franklin Millett, 51, died earlier this month in a Bangor hospital after receiving a severe beating by at least one other inmate. State Police continue to investigate Millett’s death.

Victor Valdez, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, died in November 2009 while an inmate at the prison. The AG’s investigation of Valdez’ death concluded that he died of natural causes. He suffered from kidney failure and other serious medical problems. But a number of prisoners reported seeing guards severely beat Valdez and then deny him medical care, according to Bangor Daily News reports from the time.

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