Death Row Inmate Commits Suicide

A Virginia death row inmate who was to be executed for the 2000 fatal stabbing of another prisoner committed suicide in his cell, state officials said yesterday.

Jeffery A. Remington, 39, was found dead in his single cell at Sussex I prison near Waverly early Monday, Department of Corrections spokesman Larry Traylor said. A spokeswoman with the state medical examiner’s office said Remington hanged himself.

No execution date had been set for Remington, who was convicted of capital murder in the Jan. 16, 2000, stabbing death of Brent H. Parker, a fellow inmate at Augusta Correctional Center, Traylor said. Another inmate, Michael W. Lenz, 39, also was convicted in connection with that killing.

According to court records, Remington and Lenz attacked Parker as the three attended a meeting of their Ironwood Kindred, a group of inmates who practiced Asatru, a Norse pagan religion. A corrections officer who was supervising the meeting from an adjoining room said that a commotion broke out and that he saw Lenz and Remington repeatedly stab Parker, court records say.

Remington said at his trial that Parker had threatened his life and that he intended to confront him at the Ironwood Kindred meeting, according to court records. He testified that he took a knife to the meeting for protection. Remington also said that fellow inmates had said they would rape him and that he believed Parker was involved in those threats.

Lenz, who also was sentenced to death in the killing and is awaiting execution, testified that he attacked Parker, a convicted murderer, because he was upset about the way Parker was portraying Asatru, court records say.

At the time of the stabbing, Remington, who had been convicted in Richmond in 1993 for rape, abduction and robbery, was serving a life sentence, according to corrections officials.

The last inmate to commit suicide on Virginia’s death row was David Overton Jr., 21, who overdosed in 2001, corrections officials said.

Traylor said 26 men remain on death row at Sussex, and one woman is on death row at the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women.

Two executions are scheduled for next month. Brian Lee Cherrix, 30, who was sentenced to death in the 1994 killing of a pizza delivery woman on Chincoteague Island, is scheduled to be executed March 18. Dennis M. Orbe, 39, who was convicted of killing a York County store clerk in 1998, is scheduled to be executed March 31.

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