Tuesday, October 5, 2004

Inmate serving life term for Ohio slaying collapses, dies

The Associated Press

PENDLETON, Ind. - A man serving a life sentence for the 1974 rape and murder of an elderly Ohio woman died Monday night after collapsing in a prison dining hall.

Donald L. Korn, 60, collapsed about 4:30 p.m. EST at the Pendleton Correctional Facility in Pendleton, Ind., and was pronounced dead about an hour later at an Anderson hospital, said Pam Pattison, a spokeswoman for the Indiana Department of Correction.

Pattison said an autopsy will be performed Tuesday by the Madison County Coroner.

An Ohio judge sentenced Korn on June 17 to life in prison at the central Indiana prison for the 1974 rape and murder of Ruth Doench, 72, a retired elementary school principal and teacher.

Korn was serving that life term consecutive with a 25-year-to-life sentence for the 1975 rape and attempted murder of a 54-year-old Jeffersonville, Ind. woman.

Pattison said Korn had been in Indiana's prison system since May 1976, when he was sentenced in the 1975 case. He had been at the Pendleton prison since August 2001.

Frank Smith, of the Butler County (County) Sheriff's Office, reopened the Doench case a few years ago and had Korn extradited to Butler County to stand trial.

"I've never met a more cruel and sadistic animal than Korn," he said. "Would I say I'm sorry he's dead? No. I'm sorry for the family he left behind. Final justice has been served on this man."

Doench was raped and killed in her home in Butler County, Ohio, on July 13, 1974. The killer left a mattock - a gardening tool similar to a pickax - embedded 4 inches into her skull.

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