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Idaho inmate dies after being found unresponsive in cell

Idaho prison officials say an inmate found hanging in his cell in late August has died at a Boise hospital.

The Idaho Department of Correction said Saturday that 59-year-old John M. Cope died Friday just before 9 p.m.

Officials say Cope was found hanging in his cell at about 3:40 a.m. on Aug. 31 at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution in Kuna.

Officials say they are investigating the apparent suicide.

Cope was serving a life sentence for killing and cutting off the head of a shoe salesman in Lewiston in June 2002.

He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison in April 2003.

The Idaho Supreme Court upheld the life sentence in 2006 after Cope appealed, contending the life sentence was excessive.

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