Man Who Murdered His Wife and Two Stepdaughters Killed in Prison

A former death row inmate in Washington State has been killed in prison, according to state officials.

The Washington State Department of Corrections (WSDC) confirmed Dayva Cross, 62, had been killed at about 1:15 p.m. on Sunday.

Cross was found dead in a shower at the Washington State Penitentiary, according to the Union-Bulletin.

The outlet added the Walla Walla County Coroner's office confirmed Cross' death is being considered to be a homicide.

A WSDC spokesperson said an investigation into the death has since been launched and that prison officials were working closely with the Walla Walla Police Department (WWPD).

Prison officials have identified a suspect who has since been moved to the "appropriate housing" until the investigation has ended, the Union-Bulletin reported.

Cross was sentenced to death for the 1999 murders of his wife and two stepdaughters in King County, Washington, in 2001.

His sentence was later converted to life in prison after the Washington Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that the state's use of capital punishment was unconstitutional.

Newsweek has contacted the WSDC and the WWPD for comment.

According to a recent report by Prison Policy Initiative, a criminal justice think tank, the number of homicides in state penitentiaries reached a record high of 120 in 2018.

It added: "While prisons are secure, they are largely unsafe. Violence in prison is commonplace, tied to trauma prior to incarceration as well as mental health stressors inside."

Newsweek has previously reported on instances where inmates have been killed while serving out their sentences.

In February, a teenage prisoner sentenced to life behind bars at a California jail was allegedly attacked and killed by two of his fellow inmates.

Christopher Dolan, 30, and Michael Ellison, 39, are alleged to have attacked Michael Hastey, 19, at High Desert State Prison (HDSP) in Susanville on Friday, February 18.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) alleged Dolan and Ellison used "manufactured weapons" to carry out the attack.

"A CDCR news release said: "Officers immediately responded by using chemical agents and batons to quell the incident.

"Responding staff transported Hastey to the prison medical facility where health care staff performed life-saving measures. Hastey was pronounced deceased at 12:05 p.m."

Hastey had been sentenced to a life with parole sentence over the January 2019 stabbing of Nathan Purdue during a jealous rage, according to CW affiliate KTLA.

Both the Lassen County Sheriff's Office and HDSP launched investigations into the death and the Officer of the Inspector General was notified.

Prison
Stock image of prison cells. An investigation into the death of an inmate death has been launched. Getty Images