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Oklahoma State Penitentiary inmate dies of stab wounds


McALESTER, Okla. (AP) _ An inmate has died of stab wounds after a knife fight in a yard at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary.

Prison guards found four homemade knives, each about 6 inches long, after the fight between seven or eight inmates, said prison spokeswoman Lee Mann.

Ryan K. Herron, 29, who was serving a 25-year sentence for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon in Okmulgee County, died Wednesday.

Several prison staff members saw the fight begin, but had to wait for backup before breaking it up, Mann said.

``It seems as if they responded very appropriately to what was going on,'' she said.

Several other inmates received minor injuries in the fight, she said.

Guards observe the C Unit yard through video cameras and from an observation port in the control room. The yard, used for exercising, normally contains up to 28 inmates, who are searched beforehand.

The inmates were searched before Wednesday's fight, but no weapons were found, Mann said.

The fight is still under investigation, she said.

Herron and co-defendant Timothy Jordan were convicted of stomping and kicking a man, court records show.

In an unrelated case, another McAlester inmate died this week.

John C. Bernay, 71, was found ill in his death row cell and later pronounced dead at McAlester Regional Hospital.

``As far as we know, it was some sort of aneurysm or something,'' Mann said. ``There's no reason to suspect foul play in his death.''

Bernay was sentenced to death for shooting his girlfriend's mother, Pamela Wolfchief, in the back of the head Feb. 8, 1995.
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