FILE – In this Sept. 1987 file photo, serial killer Donald Harvey stands before a judge during sentencing in Cincinnati. Harvey, who was serving multiple life sentences, was found beaten in his cell Tuesday afternoon at the state's prison in Toledo, state officials said. He died Thursday morning, said JoEllen Smith, spokeswoman for Ohio's prison system. He was 64. (AP Photo/Al Berhman, File)

Serial killer died from head injuries; Ohio inmate suspected

March 31, 2017 - 2:58 pm

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — A fellow inmate is suspected of fatally beating a serial killer dubbed the "Angel of Death" inside the cell where he was serving multiple life sentences, authorities said Friday.

No charges had been filed as of Friday afternoon and the name of the suspect hasn't been released, said Lt. Robert Sellers, a State Highway Patrol spokesman. Details about the attack won't be released until investigators take the case to a grand jury, Sellers said.

Donald Harvey, 64, died Thursday, two days after he was attacked and beaten in his prison cell. Harvey wasn't alert when he was found Tuesday at the state prison in Toledo, officials said.

An autopsy completed Friday found Harvey had several skull fractures and brain injuries and died from massive head trauma. There were no signs that a weapon was used, according to the Lucas County Coroner's office.

Harvey claimed responsibility for killing more than 50 people during the 1970s and '80s. He pleaded guilty in 1987 to killing 37 people, mostly while he worked as a nurse's aide at hospitals in Cincinnati and London, Kentucky. He later said he was responsible for killing 18 others while working at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Cincinnati.

How many people Harvey killed will never be known. He first told his attorney after his arrest that he could only offer an estimate. He then pleaded guilty to avoid the death penalty.

Many were chronically ill patients and he claimed he was trying to end their suffering.

Harvey used arsenic and cyanide to poison most of his victims, often putting it in the hospital food he served them, prosecutors said. Some patients were suffocated when he let their oxygen tanks run out.

His crimes began in the early 1970s when he was a teen working at Marymount Hospital in Kentucky.

Twenty-one of the people Harvey killed were at the former Drake Memorial Hospital in Cincinnati, where he worked from 1986 to 1987. He was caught after a medical examiner smelled cyanide while performing an autopsy on a victim.

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