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story.lead_photo.caption Robert Whitney

Authorities said Thursday that they are investigating the death of an Arkansas inmate who was serving a life term for murder.

Robert Whitney’s cellmate told authorities shortly before 3 a.m. that the 52-year-old “appeared to be in distress,” according to a release from the state Department of Correction.

Officers found Whitney unresponsive, and he was pronounced dead at 3:10 a.m., the release states.

Whitney, an inmate at the Ouachita River Correctional Unit in Malvern, was sentenced to life in prison in 2005 for first-degree murder, according to the agency.

The Arkansas State Police and the department will investigate the death.

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