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62-year-old Nebraska State Penitentiary inmate dies

July 11, 2018

A 62-year-old inmate at the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln has died, officials said Tuesday.

Benjamin L. Oates III, formerly of Omaha, died Saturday about 6:45 p.m., a prison spokeswoman said. He was being treated for a long-term medical condition, but the cause of death is under investigation.

Oates was serving 30 to 50 years for attempted sexual assault of a child. The charge was reduced from first-degree sexual assault of a child in exchange for a guilty plea that spared the child from appearing in court.

Oates was sentenced in 2015 in Douglas County District Court and had a projected release date of Dec. 20, 2038. Omaha police investigators said Oates had sexual relations with a girl younger than 12.

State law requires a grand jury to investigate whenever someone in custody dies.

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