Prisoner Killed by "Several" Inmates at Florence Facility

Duffy Kilrain's prison mugshot

By Ray Stern

State corrections officials released the name of the prisoner killed last week -- Duffy Kilrain -- but few details about the crime.

Kilrain, 51, was assaulted by "several inmates" at the Department of Corrections Eyman Meadows Unit and taken "immediately" to St. Mary's Hospital in Tucson, where he died on Sunday, according to a new release just sent out by corrections officials. An autopsy is pending; an investigation into the death is ongoing. New Times broke the story this morning in this blog.

Kilrain entered the prison system earlier this year, sentenced to four years for aggravated domestic assault. The Prescott resident had cut his wife with glass during a fight, according to a December news release by the Yavapai County Attorney's office.

Kilrain's killing comes about two years after another inmate-on-inmate slaying that led to the discipline of 14 prison employees at the Eyman complex, including warden John Ontiveros. An Arizona Republic article from January of 2007, (as reproduced partially on a prison blog site), states that a "series of blunders" by prison employees led to the 2006 fatal beating of William Harris. His killer, Michael Gaston, later hanged himself in his cell.

Whether Kilrain's death resulted from the same sort of blunders, or a whole new set of blunders, remains to be seen. But it does seem like the state prison system holds its people accountable for security lapses that lead to inmate murders.

When inmates die at jails run by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, on the other hand, all the public gets from Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his employees is a bunch of excuses.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.
Contact: Ray Stern