Corrections Department officials say Patrick Presley, 31, was found in his cell at the state penitentiary at Parchman about 12:08 a.m. Tuesday. Officials say security officers had observed Presley standing in his cell while conducting an 11:45 p.m. security check.
Presley, the son of slain Lee County Sheriff Harold Ray Presley, was convicted in early March of the depraved heart murder of Melissa White, 37, of Mooreville. He was sentenced to life in prison.
Presley's vehicle collided with Moore's on U.S. Highway 78 in June.
Testimony showed Presley had been driving down the wrong side of
U.S. 78 East for nearly five miles before colliding with White.
Blood tests taken after the accident showed methamphetamines in Presley's system.
Officials had said in April that, while there had been no specific threats against Presley, he was being considered for placement in protective custody because he was the son of a sheriff.
An autopsy has been ordered and the death is being investigated by the Department of Corrections' internal audit division.
Sheriff Harold Ray Presley, a cousin of Elvis Presley, died in a shootout with Billy Ray Stone, who also died, following a police pursuit and manhunt in July 2001.