Spring Creek Prison Death Ruled Homicide

The death of an inmate at Seward’s Spring Creek maximum security prison has been ruled a homicide. In the early hours of Sunday, 29-year-old Elihu Gillespie was found unresponsive in his cell, and taken to Providence Seward Medical Care Center. Gillespie was pronounced dead about an hour later.

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On investigation, state authorities have ruled the death the result of an inmate-on-inmate assault.

Alaska State Troopers and the Alaska Bureau of Investigation are investigating the incident. Trooper spokesperson Beth Ipsen, would not say if a weapon was used, and said details would come out in the report.

Gillespie had been sentenced to 50 years, with 29 suspended, after his conviction in a 2009 shooting that left two other men dead.

Ipsen says no charges have currently been filed against the other inmate in the continuing investigation. According to Troopers, Gillespie’s cellmate, 25-year-old Jason Rak, has been identified as the suspect. Rak has been serving a 29 -year sentence for attempted murder in a 2008 shooting at the Dimond Center mall in Anchorage.

According to Troopers, Gillespie and Rak were held in the segregation unit, and both have a history of disciplinary actions within the corrections system. In December of last year, Rak was involved in an assault on another inmate, who sustained critical injuries.

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APTI Reporter-Producer Ellen Lockyer started her radio career in the late 1980s, after a stint at bush Alaska weekly newspapers, the Copper Valley Views and the Cordova Times. When the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound, Valdez Public Radio station KCHU needed a reporter, and Ellen picked up the microphone. Since then, she has literally traveled the length of the state, from Attu to Eagle and from Barrow to Juneau, covering Alaska stories on the ground for the AK show, Alaska News Nightly, the Alaska Morning News and for Anchorage public radio station, KSKA elockyer (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8446 | About Ellen