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Inmates threaten strike after death of Braley

Death row inmates threaten to take part in a hunger strike after the death of Leeland Mark Braley and Timothy Pruitt at the state prison in Jackson. There are now 105 men and one woman on Georgia’s death row. On Friday, guards found 35-year-old Leeland Mark Braley hanging in his cell. Prison officials say Braley, sentenced to death in 1999 for the murder of a Zebulon insurance agent, apparently took his own life. Pruitt’s death more than three weeks earlier was ruled a “alleged suicide,” though few seem to believe he took his own life. His death remains under investigation. Pruitt, 43, was sentenced to death for the 1992 rape and murder of Wendy Vincent, a 10-year-old Lumpkin County girl. His fiancee told the AJC she is convinced that Pruitt was killed by another death row inmate – a theory widely shared, director of the Southern Center for Human Rights Sara Totonchi said. A DOC spokeswoman said new procedures eliminate contact visits and restrict prisoners to their cells all but one hour each day but are unrelated to the recent deaths. Support is growing among prisoners for a hunger strike, Totonchi added. ”Inmates can and do decline meals from time to time for a multitude of reasons,” the DOC spokeswoman said. “It would be speculation on our part if we linked any refusal to a specific incident.”

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