Report: Cellmate involved in OSP inmate's death

Mark Lawhead

Investigators believe an inmate’s cellmate was involved in his death at Oklahoma State Penitentiary.

Mark Lawhead, 49, was found unresponsive under his bunk during an Oct. 19 security check and was later pronounced dead, according to an incident report provided by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.

Documents show Lawhead was serving two, 10-year sentences for failure to register as a sex offender out of Cherokee County District Court.

In an incident notification report obtained by the McAlester News-Capital, a plastic bag was listed as a “weapon used/recovered” at the scene.

Lawhead’s cellmate, identified in the report as William Brown, was moved to the prison’s H-unit and placed on “single cell status until further notice.”

Brown is serving a 45-year sentence out of McIntosh County for manslaughter in the first degree, a 15-year sentence for assault and battery on a police officer, and a 15-year sentence for carrying weapon/drugs/alcohol into a jail, according to court records.

Lawhead’s death was not publicized until the ODOC’s Board of Corrections met Nov. 13 and met in executive session to discuss the “homicide of inmate Mark Lawhead,” according to the board’s agenda.

When asked if it was common for the board to discuss inmate investigations, ODOC’s Public Information Manager Matt Elliott said it was.

“The board regularly requests information on a wide variety of matters from counsel and others during executive session,” Elliott said.

Contact Derrick James at djames@mcalesternews.com

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