Sex Crimes

Vermont probes its inmate's death in a private Kentucky prison; police weren't told he'd died

  • This 1999 photo provided by Kathy Nicholson shows her husband James Nicholson of Brattleboro, Vt., while attending a wedding in Hinsdale, N.H. He was beaten and died six weeks later while serving a sentence for sexual assault at the Lee Adjustment Center, a private prison in Beattyville, Ky. An autopsy could not determine if the beating played a role in his death. The Vermont legislature’s Justice Oversight Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015 to look into Nicholson's death and those of two other inmates who died recently in Vermont’s prisons. (Kathy Nicholson via AP)

    This 1999 photo provided by Kathy Nicholson shows her husband James Nicholson of Brattleboro, Vt., while attending a wedding in Hinsdale, N.H. He was beaten and died six weeks later while serving a sentence for sexual assault at the Lee Adjustment Center, a private prison in Beattyville, Ky. An autopsy could not determine if the beating played a role in his death. The Vermont legislature’s Justice Oversight Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015 to look into Nicholson's death and those of two other inmates who died recently in Vermont’s prisons. (Kathy Nicholson via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • This 1999 photo provided by Kathy Nicholson shows her husband James Nicholson of Brattleboro, Vt., while attending a wedding in Hinsdale, N.H. He was beaten and died six weeks later while serving a sentence for sexual assault at the Lee Adjustment Center, a private prison in Beattyville, Ky. An autopsy could not determine if the beating played a role in his death. The Vermont legislature’s Justice Oversight Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015 to look into Nicholson's death and those of two other inmates who died recently in Vermont’s prisons. (Kathy Nicholson via AP)

    This 1999 photo provided by Kathy Nicholson shows her husband James Nicholson of Brattleboro, Vt., while attending a wedding in Hinsdale, N.H. He was beaten and died six weeks later while serving a sentence for sexual assault at the Lee Adjustment Center, a private prison in Beattyville, Ky. An autopsy could not determine if the beating played a role in his death. The Vermont legislature’s Justice Oversight Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015 to look into Nicholson's death and those of two other inmates who died recently in Vermont’s prisons. (Kathy Nicholson via AP)  (The Associated Press)

The Vermont Legislature is investigating the death of a Vermont inmate who was beaten at a private prison in Kentucky and died six weeks later.

The cause of his death remains unclear.

An autopsy completed last month revealed 66-year-old sex offender James Nicholson died of a combination of heart disease and diabetes. But the autopsy lists his manner of death as undetermined because the medical examiner could not determine whether the assault played a part.

Nicholson's skull was fractured in the April attack and his brain bruised. He died May 18.

The Legislature's Justice Oversight Committee will hold a hearing next week to look into his death at the Lee Adjustment Center in Kentucky, run by the for-profit Corrections Corporation of America.