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COVID-19

News >  Washington

62-year-old murder inmate in Walla Walla dies of COVID-19, third inmate in state to die

UPDATED: Sun., Nov. 22, 2020

Michael Cornethan, 62, died Saturday after testing positive for COVID-19, the Washington Department of Corrections reported. Cornethan was an inmate at Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla.   (Washington Department of Corrections)
Michael Cornethan, 62, died Saturday after testing positive for COVID-19, the Washington Department of Corrections reported. Cornethan was an inmate at Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla.  (Washington Department of Corrections)

A 62-year-old man serving a life sentence at Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla died after contracting COVID-19, the Department of Corrections announced Sunday.

Michael Cornethan was taken to a medical facility Friday after testing positive, according to a news release. He died Saturday, and is the third Department of Corrections inmate to die due to COVID-19 related issues. He’s the first who was not an inmate at Coyote Ridge Correction Center in Connell. 

Cornethan was sentenced to life in prison in 1984 after being found guilty of aggravated first-degree murder in the stabbing, strangulation and shooting death of a Seattle woman in October 1982. 

The Corrections Department said that the Walla Walla facility’s medium security units are in quarantine status following the diagnosis. Staff members are being tested weekly for the virus. 

The Department reports 117 people in isolation, and 559 people in quarantine as of Saturday per their COVID-19 protocols. Three cases have been reported at Airway Heights Correctional Facility on the West Plains since the pandemic began. 

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