A child killer who smothered his own four-month-old son has been found dead in his prison cell after spending 26 years on death row.
John Michael Ward was sentenced to capital punishment in December 1998 for the murder of his baby boy Nicholas Allen Ward in Magnolia Springs, Alabama, USA.
The 58-year-old was found unresponsive by prison officers at Holman Correctional Facility on Tuesday night.
He was rushed to the jail’s health care unit and then taken to a nearby hospital but he could not be revived.
A doctor pronounced Ward dead on Wednesday, according to the Alabama Department of Corrections.
His death is being investigated and an autopsy will be carried out to determine what happened, reports AL.
Ward had been on death row for 26 years and four months, according to court documents, after he was sentenced by a jury in Baldwin County for killing his son.
The young tot was smothered to death by Ward in January 1997, according to court records.
They also showed that when Nicholas was brought into a hospital by Ward and his mother, he was not breathing, had no pulse and was cold to touch.
After confirming Nicholas was dead, doctors also found abrasions on his scalp, nose and mouth, as well as blood in his ears and bruises on his neck and chest.
There was stool in his nappy, his right arm had suffered a deformity and crusty material under some of his nails.
His shocking condition prompted medical staff to alert Baldwin County’s Sheriff Office and an investigation was launched.
Ward was then convicted for causing Nicholas’s death and subsequently sentenced to death.
Last month, a man who gave a six-year-old a piggyback ride before bludgeoning her to death left some haunting final words in a letter ahead of his executtion.
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