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Inmate serving life sentence for murder dies at Vancouver Island prison

William Head Institution is shown through a security fence in Victoria, B.C., on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2008. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Lam) William Head Institution is shown through a security fence in Victoria, B.C., on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2008. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Lam)
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The federal correctional service says an inmate has died while in custody at a minimum-security prison on Vancouver Island.

A statement from Correctional Service Canada says inmate Richard Paul Preston died on Sept. 2 at William Head Institution, west of Victoria.

Originally from Stettler, Alta., Preston was 31 when he pleaded guilty in the shotgun death of fellow Stettler man Michael David Arnold, 36, in what the prosecutor called a "jealousy murder," according to the Red Deer Advocate newspaper.

The court heard that Preston went to the home of his former common-law wife, Connie Muise, in December 1992, shot open the door and then shot Arnold in the head before taking Muise and her two children, aged two years and seven months, hostage, the paper reported.

Preston had been serving an indeterminate sentence for second-degree murder since April 28, 1994.

The correctional service says Preston's family have been notified of his death.

In accordance with the agency's policy, police and the coroner have been notified, and correctional officials will review the circumstances of the death, the agency said.

"The coroner's office is doing an investigation at this time," assistant warden Peter Forbes said in an interview Friday.

Forbes declined to provide any further information about the inmate, citing privacy concerns.

According to the correctional service's most recent report on in-custody deaths, 904 inmates died in federal custody between 2000 and 2017, with 67 per cent of those deaths occurring from natural causes and 33 per cent from non-natural causes, such as suicides, drug overdoses, homicides and accidents.

William Head Institution opened to prisoners in 1959 after serving as a medical inspection and quarantine station since 1881.

The 87-acre property, which is located in the District of Metchosin, is bordered on three sides by the Pacific Ocean.

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