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Pair of Inmates Die at Utah State Prison
By Salt Lake Tribune
Published: 10/03/2002

Two Utah State Prison inmates died last week at the Draper facility, prison officials said Tuesday, bringing the number of prison deaths this year to seven -- including one homicide and at least two suicides. 
Billy Joe Wilson, 48, died Sept. 23 after a balloon filled with heroin apparently burst in his stomach, said Jack Ford, spokesman for the Department of Corrections. On Friday, D. Scott Reightley, 49, was found dead in his cell in a possible suicide, Ford said. 
Wilson had checked into the prison infirmary, and was unconscious when he was flown to University Hospital and pronounced dead, Ford said. An autopsy revealed the burst balloon in his stomach. 
Corrections officials are investigating how Wilson obtained the heroin, Ford said. Inmates sometimes swallow balloons filled with drugs they receive from a visitor, Ford said. But Wilson was on barrier visits, meaning a glass or plastic barrier is placed between visitors and inmates. 
Wilson went to prison in 1982, was paroled in 1991 but returned in 1995 after being convicted of the 1993 torture slaying of Lowell Searle, 84, during a robbery. He was serving a life sentence. 
Reightley's cellmate left to help prepare the breakfast about 6:30 a.m., and when an officer went to wake Reightley at about 8:45 a.m., 'he had been dead for a while,' Ford said. 
Reightley had been in prison since 1984, for murdering his wife, Diana Barton Reightley, 28, by bludgeoning her to death. 
Reightley's body showed no sign of trauma, Ford said, and no note was found. Reightley recently had transferred $1,200 out of his prison account -- earned while working at prison jobs -- to someone outside prison, leading to speculation his death could have been a suicide. Autopsy results are pending. 


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