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Man, 71, Dies in Springfield Prison Infirmary


Published August 29, 2022 at 2:32 p.m.

Southern State Correctional Facility - VERMONT DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
  • Vermont Department of Corrections
  • Southern State Correctional Facility
A 71-year-old man died over the weekend in a Vermont prison infirmary, the state Department of Corrections said.

Ronald Roy was being held at Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield when employees found him unresponsive on Sunday afternoon. Emergency responders pronounced him dead after performing lifesaving measures, according to a press release from the corrections department. State police said his death did not appear suspicious.

Roy is the sixth Vermont prisoner to die this year.

Roy, of New Hampshire, was most recently imprisoned at the Springfield facility in February. He was detained for an alleged violation of supervised release, which stemmed from a federal conviction for heroin distribution, court records show.

Roy had a pending request for release while proceedings on whether to permanently revoke his release dragged on. In a court filing, Roy's public defender described him as "elderly" and "infirm," and wrote that Roy had been living at a nursing home before his most recent detention.

"He simply wants to be outside of the walls of a prison until his supervised release case is resolved," federal public defender Michael L. Desautels wrote in the July filing, adding that Roy would likely live at a homeless shelter.

Roy was serving a five-year term of community supervision following a prison term of more than 17 years for distribution of heroin. The lengthy sentence, his public defender wrote, was "apparently" because another man died of an overdose when he and Roy were using heroin together. There was no evidence that Roy had "preyed" upon the man or "knowingly or negligently provided 'bad' heroin," Desautels wrote.

"Rather, it appears that both men used the heroin together and that the other tragically died."

A hearing on Roy's motion for release had been scheduled for August 31.

Deaths of prisoners in custody are reviewed by the Vermont Department of Corrections, the Vermont Office of the Defender General and Vermont State Police.