Oak Park Heights inmate strangled

The Minnesota Correctional Facility - Oak Park Heights is a maximum-security prison.

The Minnesota Correctional Facility – Oak Park Heights is a maximum-security prison.

An inmate at the maximum-security prison in Oak Park Heights apparently strangled and killed another inmate Dec. 2, according Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

Shane Lawrence Cooper, 30, was found dead on the floor of his cell around 4:50 p.m. Dec. 2 with a ligature around his neck. The Ramsey County Medical Examiner identified the cause of death as homicide by strangulation.

A surveillance camera recorded another inmate, Benjamin Heath Beck, 39, entering Cooper’s cell shortly before Cooper was found dead, according to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Agents from the bureau interviewed Beck and identified him as the only suspect.

Beck was convicted of first-degree aggravated robbery and first-degree burglary while possessing a dangerous weapon in 2006.

Cooper was convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in 2012.

The bureau is investigating the incident with help from the Department of Corrections Office of Special Investigations. It will forward its findings to the Washington Count Attorney’s Office for review and possible charges.

Contact Jonathan Young at jonathan.young@ecm-inc.com

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