published Friday, September 13th, 2013

Tennessee inmate who killed senator died of bad heart

  • photo
    In this Monday, Nov., 23, 1998, file photo, Byron Looper talks to his attorney Lionel Barrett in court during Looper's murder trial in Crossvile, Tenn. State correctional officials say Looper, a Tennessee inmate serving a life sentence for the murder of state Sen. Tommy Burks, was found dead in his cell in the Morgan County Correctional Complex, Wednnesday, June 26, 2013.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — An autopsy has found that Byron Looper, a Tennessee inmate serving a life sentence for the murder of state Sen. Tommy Burks, died in his cell from a heart condition.

The Knoxville News Sentinel cited the final autopsy results in reporting that Looper's death in June was the result of a bad heart, high blood pressure and hardening arteries. The report also says a toxic level of an antidepressant contributed.

Looper's family had asked for an independent review of his death because he was involved in a scuffle with guards shortly before he died.

Looper was convicted of murder in the 1998 fatal shooting of Burks while he sat in his pickup truck near his Cumberland County farm. Looper was running as a Republican against Burks for the state senate seat.

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