EBENSBURG - A 27-year-old Northern Cambria man was strangled to death by a fellow inmate in the Cambria County Prison, state police at Ebensburg said Sunday.
William H. Sherry, arrested last week on a bench warrant for a probation violation, was found dead Saturday night in the 500-bed facility on Manor Drive.
"He was strangled with a piece of a bed sheet," Cambria County Coroner Dennis Kwiatkowski said. "He was pronounced dead at 10:06 p.m."
In a statement released Sunday, state police did not name the fellow inmate. But state police are calling Sherry's death a homicide and indicated that resulted from a fight between an inmate and Sherry.
Prison Warden John Prebish could not be reached Sunday night for comment.
Kwiatkowski said he understood no one in the prison was aware of what happened until a routine check of the inmate cells.
"I don't think anybody knew about it," Kwiatkowski said. "The corrections officers, they would have responded if they had heard anything. They weren't that far away."
Cambria County Commissioner Douglas Lengenfelder said he is interested in learning more about what happened but will wait for information.
"As a commissioner, it's not my job to jump to conclusions or to ask people to do anything or to change anything until we know what really happened," Lengenfelder said. "And we won't know that until the investigation is done."
A state police investigator was not available Sunday night for comment.
Online court records indicate that Cambria County Judge Timothy Creany issued a bench warrant on July 30 for Sherry's arrest after he didn't show up at a July 20 hearing to address his failure to pay court costs and to explain why he didn't report a change of residence.
Sherry was on probation in connection with a guilty plea he entered in May 2011, before Creany, to charges of fleeing or attempting to elude an officer and driving with a suspended license.
The online court records also indicate that as of Wednesday, two days after the bench warrant was issued, Sherry was in prison.
Lengenfelder said he expects more information will become available with time.
"There's procedures, methods and ways to deal with what happened that we're going to follow," the commissioner said. "This is real life. This isn't TV. What happens in real life is different from TV and not everything happens in 30 minutes."