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Altogether, 2,955 Minnesota prison inmates have contracted the virus, according to DOC data last updated on Nov. 29, and 12 are currently hospitalized. Two prisoners were in critical condition and on ventilators being treated at outside hospitals, the department said Sunday. This photo shows a cell block in the Rush City prison. (Photo: Minnesota Department of  Corrections)
Altogether, 2,955 Minnesota prison inmates have contracted the virus, according to DOC data last updated on Nov. 29, and 12 are currently hospitalized. Two prisoners were in critical condition and on ventilators being treated at outside hospitals, the department said Sunday. This photo shows a cell block in the Rush City prison. (Photo: Minnesota Department of Corrections)

COVID-19 claims fifth Minnesota inmate

A 57-year-old Rush City prison inmate is the fifth Minnesota prisoner to die from COVID-19.

John Craig Heuer

John Craig Heuer

John Craig Heuer, a truck driver formerly of St. Cloud, died late Saturday at St. Joseph’s Hospital in St. Paul, the Department of Corrections said Monday. He had been recently diagnosed with COVID-19, the department said.

Heuer was serving time on a 2011 felony conviction for criminal sexual conduct with a victim under age 13, according to court records. His anticipated release date was January 2024. He is the fifth inmate from four Minnesota prisons to succumb to the virus.

On Monday, the Corrections Department also identified two other inmates who died from COVID-19 earlier in November.

Peter Clare Hoagland

Peter Clare Hoagland

Peter Clare Hoagland, 73, a former businessman serving time at the maximum-security Oak Park Heights prison, died on Nov. 24.

Hoagland, who owned a Willmar retail radio store, was convicted in 2015 on eight felony counts of sexual assault against victims under age 13. His assaults against several young boys reportedly took place in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Hoagland was serving an amended 176-month sentence, after his appeal for a reduced sentence was partially granted in 2016. He recently tested positive for COVID-19 while receiving medical care for terminal cancer, the department said. It was not known where he contracted the virus, the agency said.

Charles Paul Jacobson

Charles Paul Jacobson

Charles Paul Jacobson, 65, of Becida, Minnesota, died on Nov. 1. The Stillwater inmate was serving a life sentence for the 2004 shooting death of his 21-year-old nephew.

Jacobson’s death occurred one day after he was sent to an area hospital to be treated for a medical condition not thought to be related to COVID-19, a department spokesperson said. He was evaluated and discharged back to prison where he died, the press release said.

DOC’s two previous COVID-19 fatalities were earlier identified as Leroy Wallace Bergstrom, 71, who died on June 27, and Adrian Raymaar Keys, 43, who died on June 23. Both men were serving sentences at the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Faribault.

Altogether, 2,955 Minnesota prison inmates have contracted the virus, according to DOC data last updated on Nov. 29, and 12 are currently hospitalized. Two prisoners were in critical condition and on ventilators being treated at outside hospitals, the department said Sunday.

COVID-19 is also affecting staff. According to the latest DOC data, 807 workers had either been confirmed or were suspected of having caught the virus. Of those, 273 had yet to return to work as of the latest status update on Sunday.

Several DOC staff members also remained hospitalized because of the coronavirus, the department said Sunday.

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About Kevin Featherly

Kevin Featherly, who joined BridgeTower Media in mid-2016, is a journalist and former freelance writer who has covered politics, law, business, technology and popular culture for publications and websites in the Twin Cities and nationally since the mid-1990s.

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