SALEM, Ore. - An Oregon State Penitentiary inmate serving a life sentence for aggravated murder in the 1978 killing of a Camp Sherman jogger died unexpectedly Friday of apparent natural causes at the Salem prison, the Oregon Department of Corrections reported.
As with all unanticipated deaths in state prisons, the Oregon State Police Criminal Investigation Division is conducting an investigation, officials said.
Around midnight early Friday morning, John Ackroyd, 67, was found unresponsive in his cell, where he was the sole occupant. Medical staff began life-saving efforts to no avail. He was pronounced deceased at 12:23 a.m. No other details are available at this time, officials said.
Ackroyd entered state custody on Jan. 11, 1994 on two counts of aggravated murder and three counts of murder out of Jefferson County. He was sentenced to life in prison.
Next of kin has been notified. No other details are available at this time, officials said.
OSP is Oregon's only maximum-security prison and houses over 2,000 male inmates. It’s surrounded by a 25-foot-high wall with 10 towers.
Ackroyd and another man were convicted in the fall of 1993 in the Christmas Eve 1978 murder of a 35-year-old jogger, Kaye Jean Turner in the Camp Sherman area. Ackroyd, who originally reported finding Turner's remains, and Roger Back were convicted of her murder.
In 2013, Ackroyd was charged with murder of his 13-year-old stepdaughter, Rachanda Pickle, who vanished from her family's home at the ODOT maintenance compound near Santiam Junction in July 1990. Her body was never found. The last item in online Linn County court files on the case, in October 2013, indicated a judge had stayed proceedings in the case, pending negotiations between prosecutors and defense attorneys.