Alabama Man Dies In Overheated Prison Cell

Tommy Lee Rutledge, 44, died of hyperthermia on December 7 when his core body temperature rose to 109 degrees after his cell at Donaldson Prison in Bessemer, Alabama, overheated to more than 100 degrees.

The Montgomery Advertiser reported on Friday that the Alabama Department of Corrections refused to answer questions about Mr. Rutledge’s death, including how temperatures in Mr. Rutledge’s cell in the prison’s mental health ward soared past 100 degrees when it was 31 degrees that night.

Mr. Rutledge was initially sentenced to life in prison without parole for a crime that happened when he was 17. Equal Justice Initiative challenged the constitutionality of such sentences for children and in 2012 won a ban on mandatory life-without-parole sentences for children at the Supreme Court. EJI lawyers successfully represented Mr. Rutledge in resentencing proceedings and he was given a new sentence.

He would have been eligible for parole in three years.