Inmate Claims He Killed Serial Killer In Letter To Newspaper

Posted at 3:16 PM, Jun 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-21 15:16:28-04

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky (LEX 18) A newspaper publisher in Laurel County received a letter from an inmate in Ohio who claims he beat a Kentucky serial killer to death in prison last year.

Corbin Journal News publisher Trent Knuckles had never before received a letter like the one he received a few days ago.

"I was a little surprised at first," said Knuckles.

Knuckles received a letter from James Elliott. Elliott is serving time in Ohio for various crimes he committed. He also claimed responsibility for beating Donald Harvey to death in prison last year. 

Donald Harvey was a serial killer known as the Angel of Death. He was a nurse convicted of killing 37 people in Ohio and Kentucky hospitals during the 1970s and 1980s, including several people in Laurel County. 

“He felt like this is something he could do to sort of make up for some of the bad things he had done in his life," said Knuckles.

But that was just one of the reasons he gave for attacking Harvey in his cell.

“The reasons he gave for doing it are pretty shocking. and he’s pretty unapologetic about it," said Knuckles. 

Knuckles spoke with Elliott’s mother, who said Harvey was bragging in prison about who he had killed.

"That upset him. made him mad, so he decided to do something about it," Knuckles said.

On June 13, Elliott decided to write a letter about it.

"I guess a part of me saw this as an opportunity to finally do something constructive for my neighbors, by way of closure," read Knuckles from the letter.

Knuckles added that the charges for Harvey’s death haven’t been brought on Elliott yet, and might not ever, as his term is scheduled to run until 2043.