An inmate at the Morgan County Correctional Complex has been pronounced dead after being found unresponsive inside his cell. Inmate Byron Looper, 48, was pronounced dead at approximately 11:10 a.m.
Looper was serving a maximum sentence of life without parole for the 1998 first-degree murder of Tennessee State Senator Tommy Burks.
Commissioner Derrick Schofield has requested the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation assume the lead in the investigation into Looper’s death. District Attorney Russell Johnson has approved the request.
His attorney, McCracken Poston, said, "Upon hearing of the death of my former client Byron "Low Tax" Looper, my thoughts are with the family of the late Senator Tommy Burks, as well as with the Looper family.
"The case was always a tragic one, with the loss of a beloved Tennessee state senator, as well as the conviction and now death of a colorful character in both Georgia and Tennessee politics. The fact that Byron was an unusual, if often difficult, client, is well documented. His family in Georgia deserves to mourn their loss in peace."