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State settles prison death lawsuit for $1.5M

UPDATED: Sun., June 18, 2017

This Sept. 12, 2006 photo shows an aerial view of the Monroe Correctional Complex located in Monroe, Wash. A federal lawsuit accused corrections officers of failing to protect 45-year-old Gordon Powell, of Centralia, from being beaten to death at the complex in May 2015. (Betty Udesen / Betty Udesen/Seattle Times)
This Sept. 12, 2006 photo shows an aerial view of the Monroe Correctional Complex located in Monroe, Wash. A federal lawsuit accused corrections officers of failing to protect 45-year-old Gordon Powell, of Centralia, from being beaten to death at the complex in May 2015. (Betty Udesen / Betty Udesen/Seattle Times)
Associated Press

MONROE, Wash. – The state Department of Corrections has agreed to pay $1.5 million to the family of a man who was stomped to death in state prison in Monroe.

The Daily Herald of Everett reported the federal lawsuit accused corrections officers of failing to protect 45-year-old Gordon Powell, of Centralia, from being beaten to death at the Monroe Correctional Complex in May 2015.

A spokesman for the Washington Department of Corrections confirmed a settlement was reached June 12 but added that the agency did not admit liability.

Benjamin Price was charged with aggravated first-degree murder in connection to Powell’s death. He was found incompetent to stand trial and is receiving treatment at Western State Hospital.

Price has a long history of mental illness. He was serving a 12-year term for killing Dawn Ruger in 2006 and hiding her body in rural Whatcom County at the time of the 2015 prison attack.

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