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Last updated 11:14PM ET
March 7, 2021
Cop Killer Dies in Prison
(APR - Alabama Public Radio ) - State corrections officials said Tuesday an autopsy would be conducted on Farron Barksdale, who admitted killing two Athens police officers and who was found unconscious in his cell just days after arriving in prison.

Barksdale, 32, died Monday at a Montgomery hospital, where he had been on life support and never regained consciousness.

Prison spokesman Brian Corbett said the autopsy hopefully would reveal what killed Barksdale, who had suffered from mental illness and pleaded guilty in the ambush slayings of the two officers after being found competent to stand trial.

Barksdale was pronounced dead Monday afternoon after relatives decided to remove him from life support. He had been taken to the hospital after being found unresponsive in his cell at Kilby prison on Aug. 11, three days after he was brought to the prison by Limestone County deputies.

Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely said his department received a call from the hospital saying it appeared Barksdale had been beaten severely, but Corbett said there was no indication of an assault aside from some "old" bruises on the prisoner. Corbett said last week that Barksdale had symptoms indicating a systemic infection.

The Department of Forensic Science will perform the autopsy, Corbett said.

"It hasn't been done, and I'm not 100 percent sure when it will be done," he said Tuesday.

Corbett said corrections investigators were still reviewing Barksdale's death, and they had not tracked down the source of the call that Blakely said his office received about a possible beating.

Barksdale pleaded guilty to capital murder in the Jan. 2, 2004, deaths of officer Tony Mims and Sgt. Larry Russell. He lured officers to his mother's home in north Alabama by calling 911, and he opened fire from inside when the two arrived at the house in response to the call.

Athens Police Chief Wayne Harper said the three-year ordeal ending with Barksdale's death was a "tragedy that has affected a lot of people."

"We're sorry for the pain his family is going through and the pain the Russell and Mims families continue to go through," Harper told The Decatur Daily.

The defense argued that Barksdale had severe mental problems, but he pleaded guilty after state psychiatrists judged him competent for trial.


Information from: The Decatur Daily,

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