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Prison murder defendant pleads not guilty

FORT DODGE – The man accused of killing a fellow inmate at the Fort Dodge Correctional Facility pleaded not guilty in a written arraignment Monday.

Eric Hall, 44, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Thomas Daleske, who was found dead in his cell on June 14.

Hall was charged after the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation determined he had been inside the victim’s cell shortly before Daleske’s unresponsive body was discovered. Video surveillance at the prison shows Hall entering Daleske’s cell alone and leaving six minutes later, according to the criminal complaint.

The State Medical Examiner ruled the death a homicide by strangulation with blunt force injuries to the head, neck and chest. It’s unclear if any weapon was used.

The DCI said Hall admitted to killing Daleske in a subsequent interview.

Daleske, 59, was serving a 45-year sentence for multiple convictions out of Warren County, including sexual abuse and lascivious acts with a child. He had been incarcerated since October 2000.

Hall awaits trial in the Fort Dodge Correctional Facility. The inmate has been serving a sentence for third-degree burglary since April 2019 after a rash of break-ins at businesses across the state.

His tentative release date was scheduled for November 2023.

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