National

Prison inmate death after incident with staff ruled homicide

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The death of an inmate following an “altercation with correctional staff” at Western Illinois Correctional Center in May has been ruled a homicide, according to an autopsy report provided to The Associated Press under a Freedom of Information request.

Larry Earvin died from blunt trauma to the chest and abdomen, the death certificate from Clinton County in southern Illinois said. The 65-year-old Earvin sustained 15 rib fractures and two dozen or more abrasions, hemorrhages and lacerations. Surgery to remove a portion of his bowel appears to have followed the injury, the report says.

The FBI is investigating the May 17 incident at the prison in Mount Sterling, about 250 miles (400 kilometers) southwest of Chicago. Illinois Department of Corrections officials declined to disclose details of the altercation.

At least four Western Illinois employees were placed on administrative leave with pay on May 22, according to documents provided under the Freedom of Information Act. Suspended for allegedly violating conduct standards were correctional Sgt. Willie Hedden, 40, of Mount Sterling; correctional Lts. Benjamin Burnett, 33, of Winchester, and Blake Haubrich, 30, of Quincy and correctional officer Alex Banta, 27, of Quincy.

North Dakota oil and gas

production hit new highs

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota set oil and gas production records in September, but a slowdown is expected in the coming months due to a sharp drop in oil prices.

The state’s director of mineral resources, Lynn Helms, said Friday that oil production surged to a record 1.36 million barrels per day, while natural gas output hit an all-time high of 2.5 billion cubic feet per day in September.

But the gas volume that was flared off instead of captured also hit a record at 457 million cubic feet per day. The capture rate was 83 percent, missing an 85 percent target for the fifth straight month. The target rose to 88 percent this month.

The North Dakota Industrial Commission is expected to take action Tuesday on changes to the gas capture policy.

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