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Arkansas State Police investigate death of prisoner at East Arkansas unit

By: - December 9, 2022 3:52 pm

Caleb Cogburn, 24, was found dead in his cell at the Varner Unit in Gould on Thursday, according to a press release from the Arkansas Department of Corrections.

The prisoner was pronounced dead at 6:40 a.m., according to the department. No other details about the circumstances of Cogburn’s death were released.

Caleb Cogburn

Arkansas State Police was notified and will conduct an investigation into the circumstances of Cogburn’s death. The Corrections Department will conduct an internal investigation as well.

Cogburn was serving a 40-year sentence for rape from Pope County. The Russellville resident was arrested in May 2021, accused of having sexual contact with a minor. He was scheduled for trial in April but entered a negotiated plea of guilty to a rape charge, according to court records.  A separate sexual assault charge was dismissed.

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Sonny Albarado
Sonny Albarado

In his 50-year career, Sonny Albarado has been an investigations editor, a business editor, a city editor, an environmental reporter and a government reporter at newspapers in Arkansas, Tennessee and Louisiana. Most recently, he retired from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette after serving as projects editor for 12 ½ years. He got his start in journalism as editor of the Nicholls Worth, the student newspaper at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, La., where he earned a bachelor’s degree in English in 1973. Nicholls awarded him an honorary Doctor of Letters in 2014.

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