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Two people dead at WV jails Monday

Staff reports

Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Two people died in separate incidents at state jails Monday, including a Putnam County man sentenced to life in prison for killing a woman with whom he allegedly had an affair.

Authorities found Philip Casto, 35, unresponsive in his cell at Mount Olive Correctional Complex, according to a news release from the state Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.

An early-morning head count led to the discovery, and Casto was pronounced dead soon after being found, the release states. Investigators believe his death may be a suicide.

In April, Casto pleaded no contest to the murder of Jennifer Evans, 27, in her Hurricane home in September of 2015.

Past hearings pointed toward an affair between Casto and Evans. She later avoided him completely.

In a message to his friend, Casto said he was going on a trip and that his “last act out of town [was] going to be brutal.”

Authorities arrested him in Braintree, Massachusetts, a Boston suburb, the day after Evans was found dead. Casto — his hair and beard trimmed — had $14,000 in cash.

Putnam Circuit Judge Phillip Stowers sentenced Casto to life in prison without parole after a two-hour hearing in March.

Also Monday, Denna Ruth McDonald, 48, suffered an “apparent medical episode” in the booking area of Western Regional Jail, according to the news release.

Though she received medical attention, the release states, McDonald died in a hospital at about 10:45 a.m.

Authorities brought her to the jail Saturday evening after her bail was revoked.

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